February 2012

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Geneabloggers is celebrating the first blogiversary of GeneaWebinars. You don’t know what a webinar is? Then check out this post and learn more. You will learn about upcoming webinars if you subscribe to the GeneaWebinars blog.

The National Archives of England blog has a post called “Hack off, Hack on.” It’s not what you might think so go and read the post to find out more. I wish I could be in Kew next month.

Create Your Life Story blog has a post called “Episode 67: Audio Snapshots of Your Life Story.” They look at recording your own life story in small segments which may make it easier to handle. They look at the different ways there are to record, save and share your story.

The Library and Archives Canada blog had a post called “How to Order Newspapers on Microfilm via Interlibrary Loan.” I think the title is self explanatory.

Marian’s Roots & Rambles had a post this past week called “Digging a Little Deeper – Digital Vs. Paper.” I agree with her on this one.

Irish Genealogy News had a post called “WDYTYA? No place for Smoothies!” Claire was one of the lucky ones who were able to attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London last weekend. Here she shares some Irish genealogy news from the event.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

TransylvanianDutch – Week in Review

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

The website firstworldwar.com bills itself as “a multimedia history of World War One.” There is a wealth of information to be found on this site. The page titles under the heading details are: how it began, battlefield tours, battles, an encyclopedia, source documents, special features, a timeline, war in the air, weaponry and a who’s who. Then you have other headings like multimedia, narratives and site information.

Under the multimedia heading you can find images of battlefields today, maps, propaganda posters, vintage audio and video and vintage photographs. The narratives heading provides links to examples of memoirs and diaries and prose and poetry.

You can read a collection of telegrams between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II sent in the four days before the start of the war.

There is a story called “A Slow Fuse: Hitler’s Wartime Experience” which looks at how Hitler’s experiences in the First World War shaped the man he became.

If you are looking for more information on the First World War you may find something of interest on the site. The site is a work in progress and is done in the spare time of the sites creator.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

The story of Lady Diana Taylour is a wonderful adventure. Click here to read part one.

Now that an address was known the London city directories were searched. A few of these directories are available at the Toronto Reference Library. The family listed at that address was Stone. The 1901 England census had been released but no references could be found.

The Toronto Reference Library has the online searchable databases for the Toronto Daily Star and the Globe and Mail newspapers. A blanket search for Diana Taylour was done to see if anything came up. It did.

References were found for Lady Diana and Jean Riddell opening a gas station at Post Corners north of Oakville. My research to date has provided no documentation on this event other than the newspaper article. She was a honourary president at the London Ontario Coronation Unit for Ex British Servicewomen. The most interesting item found in the newspapers was an advertisement for a shop she had on Yonge Street. This led me to the Toronto city directories found at the Toronto Reference Library.

Diana showed up once in the directories under her business and a home address. A cross reference for Taylor was done for the home address in the directories. Benjamin who was a superintendent at London Life Insurance and Frank who worked with the Toronto Real Estate Board were found living in the same house as Diana. Who were they?

The next things happened almost at the same time. I had ordered a copy of Diana’s 1940 National Registration Questionnaire but was waiting for it as it takes about two months to receive the information. While waiting for the questionnaire an entry was found in the 1891[1] England census with Benjamin Taylor living in Norfolk with a daughter Kate who was 10 months old. A birth certificate was ordered.  It stated she was born Kate May Taylor[2] in 1890 in Weybourne and her parents were Benjamin Taylor and Kate Bishop.

The 1891 England census had already given me her mother’s maiden name because her grandmother Ann F. Bishop was living with the family. Also in the household were Diana’s brother Edward B. Taylor and a servant Emma Buttle.

A marriage[3] certificate for Benjamin and Kate confirmed Kate’s maiden name was Bishop. Kate’s father was John and Benjamin’s father was William.

The 1940[4] National Registration Questionnaire gave me even more information. Diana still gave her year of birth as 1896 but she gave the right birth date of 28 May. It states that she and her parents were born in Norfolk. Diana added something new to her name; she was now Katherine Diana May Harwood Taylour.

The new gem was that she arrived in Canada in 1926. Diana said that she could speak French; ran a private rest home and guest home, was a good cook, qualified mechanic and could drive a fire engine. She could also handle horses, drive – automobiles, trucks and a tractor, and was an organizer of girls. She gave her occupation as U.R.C.W. Hon Pres Coronation Unit 2 London Ontario 1 year duration and nursing home matron 8 years duration.

Diana gave more information on her First World War military career. It said in the last war she drove a private ambulance for four and half years and was a column leader of ambulances after the war for eighteen months.

She wanted to help in the Second World War by being trained and serving on the home front. Diana said she would like to run training for women and work overseas or home defense.

To be continued…

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved



[1] Benjamin Taylor household, 1891 England census, Norfolk, Caston, page 15, household 91, digital image (www.ancestry.com) viewed 2005

[2] Kate May Taylor, England birth certificate, 28 May 1891, Norfolk, Erpingham, Holt, entry 261, General Register Office of England

[3] Benjamin Taylor-Kate Bishop, England marriage certificate, 30 March 1885, Lancaster, Liverpool, entry 57, General Register Office of England

[4] Dominion of Canada National Registration, 20 August 1940, Electoral District 110, Halton, Polling District 9, Oakville, card for women, card 311, Katherine Diana May Harwood Taylour

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

On the Mocavo Genealogy Blog Michael Leclerc wrote a post called “Getting the Most from Scholarly Journals” where he reminds us what we are missing if we don’t read the genealogical journals that come across our doorstep.

Claire Santry of the Irish Genealogy News blog had a post called “Some snippets of interest” where she tells us about a discount that is available for GenesReunited. This ends on February 26th.

The Enniskerry Local History blog has a post called “Taylor and Skinner Map of Ireland 1777” where they look at this wonderful resource.

The Family Recorder has a post this week called “Those Places Thursday – what do you mean by ‘London’?” This post looks at the growth of London, its changing boundaries and what this means to the researcher when someone says they are from London.

The ActiveHistory blog had a post called “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Visualizing the Past.” They look at historical visualization and the different forms it can take. This type of information can be very useful to the genealogist.

Yesterday was Family Day in Ontario but Manitoba recognized it as Louis Riel Day. The Library and Archives Canada blog had a post called “Louis Riel Images Now On Flickr” so you can go in and view images relating to Louis Riel and the Northwest Rebellion.

James Tanner of the FamilySearch Tech Tips blog had a post called “Change Your Work Habits With Evernote, Dropbox and Mozy” where he looks at these programs and how they can help you with your research.

Fiona Fitzsimons wrote a post for the findmypast blog called “Search Tip – Class Systems” which reminds us to look at the society in which our ancestors lived and not the society in which we currently live. Fiona refers to it as “The “Downton Abbey” effect.”

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

TransylvanianDutch – Week in Review

British & Irish Genealogy

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

It started off as a simple search to find some information on Lady Diana’s military history but it turned into a ten year search for the truth behind the myth of Lady Diana Taylour.

In 1999 I was asked by a friend to find out more information about a grave stone found in the Old Oakville/St. Mary’s cemetery. He felt that because of the inscription on the grave stone that she deserved a flag on Remembrance Day and the town would not do this without proof of her military service. The local paper only provided a basic death notice with no information on her military career. I said I would see what I could find and so started a journey that would take ten years to solve and provided twists and turns that were both frustrating and exhilarating.

A trip to the Toronto Reference Library provided the information needed to put a flag on her grave but it also raised more questions that needed answers.

A reference was found for Lady Diana Taylour in the Biographies of Canadian Women Index at the Toronto Reference Library. This is an index that can have a lot or a little information. In this case it was a reference to an obituary in the Toronto Telegram newspaper.[1] A search of the Biographies of Canadian Women microfilm provided a copy of this obituary.

The obituary stated a connection to the Marquess of Headfort’s family so a search was done in “Burke’s Peerage and Gentry” and “Debrett’s Peerage & Baronetage.” She was not mentioned. A relation of the Marquess did live in British Columbia but research provided no link between the family and Diana Taylour.

In Ontario when applying for a death certificate you can only get a short form death certificate unless you are related to the deceased. The short form provides: name, date of death, place of death, age and gender. The name on the certificate was slightly different it was Katherine Diana May Taylour. [2]

Land records for her property in Oakville were searched. Diana bought the property in December 1936[3] with a friend Jean Riddell. Diana was listed as a nurse and Jean a dietitian. They went through foreclosure in 1954 but continued to live there until 1957 when a move was planned to Grimsby. Diana died just before they were to move. Jean went through with the move to Grimsby.

Since no place of birth was known the birth indexes were searched for Ontario, England, Ireland and Scotland from 1891-1901. There were no Diana Taylour’s and too many Katherine, Kate and May Taylor’s to distinguish which could be the right one.

The Oakville Historical Society was approached for information on Diana. Someone had donated a more extensive obituary that was found in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper.

The obituary provided new information. Early in 1914 Diana was in Paris at finishing school. She was engaged to a young man who was killed in the first few months of the war. She outfitted and ran a private ambulance herself. When the possibility of eviction from the house on Dundas Street was very real she stated “I will never leave this house.”

I was able to speak to a few people in the community who knew her. They said she walked at the head of the Remembrance Day parade with a chest full of medals. Ran a home for invalid men and if they could not pay she did not care. Diana provided nursing care to people in the community. She drank like a fish and swore like a banshee. She had dogs and a myna bird and was a good conversationalist.

Mary Ingham is a researcher who specializes in women, nurses, First World War and suffragettes. She found a war medal index card in the women’s index[4] and sent me a digital copy. The card showed Diana applied for a General Service Medal on 30 June 1919. The address provided was on Kirkstall Road in Streatham. The other research proved inconclusive.

The Men’s War Medal Index[5] cards were online so a search was done under Taylour to see if anything could be found on her brothers. Imagine my surprise when a card for Diana showed up! She had not only been in the women’s index but the men’s as well. The card on the men’s index gave me a more detailed look at her war efforts. K.D.N Taylour applied for the British War Medal on 30 June 1919. Theatre of war was home. The Corps listed were Canterbury Private Amb[ulance] Work and Canadian Forestry. The address was Kirkstall Road in Streatham. Since the cards make no reference to her receiving her medals I was told that she probably had not received them.

To be continued…

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved



[1] Lady Diana Taylour, obituary, 23 October 1957, Toronto Telegram newspaper, Biographies of Canadian Women, Toronto Reference Library, microfilm T686.3

[2] Katherine Diana May Taylour, Ontario death registration, 22 October 1957, registration #1957-05-039176, registration year 1957, Ontario Registrar General

[3] Ontario Land Records, Halton County, Trafalgar Township, Town of Oakville,  Part of Park Lot N, 24 Dec 1936,Instrument #11974, Halton Land Registry Office, Milton, Ontario

[4] Katherine Diana M. Taylour, WW1 Women’s Service Medal Roll Index, The National Archives of England, WO372

[5] WW1 Campaign Medals, The National Archives of England, Documents Online, digital image (http://tinyurl.com/aessz)  viewed 2005

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The Ancestry Insider had two interesting posts this week. The first was called “What Does it Take to Get a Good Result from Ancestry.com” this is something everyone who uses Ancestry.com wants to know.

The other post is “A Monstrosity, Wonderful Thing” which looks at FamilySearch and the new product that they are working on called Family Tree.

The Irish Story had a post called “Book Review: Ireland’s Arctic Siege” which looks at the “Big Freeze of 1947.” I found this of interest as my parents were living in Ireland at that time. My Mum didn’t remember the big freeze but my Dad had a few recollections.

Help! The Faerie Folk Hid My Ancestors! Blog has a post about “Using EBooks For Your Genealogy Research” where they provide a link to a wonderful website and an interview with the person who set it up.

The Library and Archives Canada blog has an announcement about a new podcast series that will be released once a month. The first is “Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage.”

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

TransylvanianDutch – Week in Review

British & Irish Genealogy

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Lisa Alzo was my last interview at the FGS conference in Springfield Illinois. Many people will know Lisa from her articles in genealogy magazines such as Family Chronicle. She has a very interesting family history and her family could be considered recent immigrants to the United States since they arrived in the early 1900s.

I asked Lisa ten questions relating to her family history.

Lisa Alzo Interview

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Marian’s Roots & Rambles has a post called “Think – Plan – Execute” which is the first in a series of posts. She begins by looking at “Thinking it through.” This is a series that everyone should read.

British GENES (British Genealogy News and EventS) has a post about the new National Archives of Ireland website and their new online catalogue. He isn’t happy with some of the changes. Learn more about his challenges in finding databases that were easier to find on the old website rather than the new catalogue in the post “Using the new National Archives of Ireland catalogue.”

The Ancestry Insider had a post called “Jack Reese: Advanced Photographic Techniques” that looks at the difficulties of digitizing documents and some of the techniques to improve the image quality.

The Help Me With My Family Tree… blog has a post called “Brick Walls in Family Tree Research” that provides an alternate way of breaking those walls down.

Geniaus was one of the official bloggers at RootsTech last week. She has post called “My foray into film at Rootstech” where she interviews Darrin Lythgoe the developer of TNG genealogy software.

Several bloggers have provided a synopsis of the RootsTech conference. You can view them at British & Irish Genealogy, Genea-musings and The Family Recorder.

Stardust ‘n’ Roots has a post called “RootsTech Learning #1 – Ancestral Lines Pairing System” where he looks at the new number system designed by Ancestral Lines.

The Findmypast.ie blog has part 2 of their series on the Representative Church Body Library.

Brenda Dougall Merriman has a post called “Loyalists: Eligibility – Common Sense or Splitting Hairs?” It is the latest in her series on Loyalist ancestors.

The Reclaiming Kin blog has a posted called “Phillip Holt is Not Dead After All.” This post is a reminder to all of us to go back and review our research.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and January’s was organization. You will get bonus posts relating to the theme but only on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page these will not be posted on the monthly blog review.

To get a new tip each day all you have to do is “Like” the Blair Archival Research page.

January 1

Start the year by updating your database. Add information that might be missing from the database but that is in your files.

January 2

Are you finding that your organizational method is not working for you? Check out the Family Roots Organizer to see if they can help.

January 3

Go through your family history files and see what is in there. When was the last time you did this? You never know what you may find. There might be a bit of information in there that is the key to something you have been researching.

January 4

Only have five minutes to spare today then check out FamilySearch. They have a webinar called “5 Minute Genealogy Episode 14: Organize Your Records.”

January 5

Do you have a pile of paper that needs to go into your family files or be scanned into your computer? Spend the day sorting it into piles that relate to your filing system of choice. This might be surnames, place names, or family groups.

January 6

Today let’s file those papers that you started to organize yesterday.

January 7

How is your filing system set up on your computer? Are you finding the files easily? Are there files you are not using or maybe some that are so full you can’t find anything? Take one of those files and organize them today.

January 8

Have you got loose photographs floating around in the albums? Then organize them in the album and don’t forget to label them.

January 9

Do you have a box of pictures that are of unknown souls? Pick one picture and spend the day trying to find out who it is.

January 10

If you weren’t able to find out much about your unknown family photograph see if Dead Fred can help.

January 11

Still having difficulty with that photograph then see what Cyndi’s List has to offer under Photographs & Memories.

January 12

Have you got those digital files backed up? Is a duplicate copy held off site? Spend today backing up your digital files and sending a copy to a family member for safe keeping.

January 13

Did you know that in a fire a wooden file cabinet has a better chance of preserving your family history than a metal one? The metal file cabinet absorbs the heat and while it may still be standing the paper inside is ash. A wooden one takes longer to burn so there is a better chance of the files surviving.

January 14

Are you using archival materials to preserve your family treasures? Spend today looking for a local supplier of archival material to preserve your items. Shop around for a price that suits your budget.

Some sources are: Genealogy Store and Global Genealogy.

January 15

While protecting your family treasures why not write a note to go with them so that your family knows where the item came from and the family to which it is connected.

January 16

Take a digital photograph of the family heirloom. Create a book of family treasures which includes the photograph and the history of the item. This could be a lovely gift to give family members.

January 17

We talked about organizing your family history database on January 1st now lets create your research plan for the coming year. Go through your database and see where the blanks are found. Write a list of the records you need to find and a list of where you might find them. Your family history program may have a section that will help you collect all this information in one place.

January 18

While you are going through your database to create your research plan make a note of the places where your source citations need improving.

January 19

Take the time today to improve the source citations in your database.

January 20

Do you have a long list of genealogy bookmarks? See if the categories need to be expanded upon or maybe you can consolidate them. The Tech Tips FamilySearch blog has a post about Diigo. Would this work for you?

January 21

While you are organizing your bookmarks don’t forget to click on each link to make sure it is still valid.

January 22

Sometimes when you save a link to your bookmarks the title is not very descriptive. Edit the titles on your bookmarks so that it makes it easier to find websites.

January 23

Do you have a library of books that relate to your family history research? Go through your library and check to see if the books are still in good condition. Is there a note or page corner turned down with something you were once going back to check? Make a note and add it to your research plan.

January 24

Have you got duplicate books? Donate them to a local library, genealogy society or historical society.

January 25

Are there books or other related items that are on your wish list? Create the list and take it with you to conferences.

January 26

Have you ever used Library Thing? Why not add your library to this online catalogue. If you are away and find a book but are not sure if you already have it you can check the catalogue at the nearest online computer. You can add 200 books for free or as many as you like for a year ($10) or life ($25).

January 27

Have you searched Google Books or Internet Archive to see if any of the books you are looking for are available for free digitally? You can create a catalogue in your bookmarks for books you have found online. You can also keep a written catalogue in a word processing program.

January 28

How many CDs and DVDs do you have in your library? How are they stored? You can store them in a container specifically for CDs. Do you know what is on them? If not then go in and see what they contain and create an index for the CDs in your library. If the CD is not of use then donate it. If it doesn’t work on your system anymore then destroy it.

January 29

Create a catalogue for your CDs and DVDs in a word processing program. You can add it to the same catalogue you created for your books or keep the two separate.

January 30

Do you know what is on all your thumb drives? Label each drive with a letter or number and then create an index in a word processing program. If there is nothing on the drive that is useful then clean the drive off and have it ready for your next research adventure.

January 31

Looking for more tips on organizing your family history? Check out Cyndi’s List Organizing Your Research.