November 2012

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2012.

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and October’s was church records. 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.

October 1

This month we are going to look at tips that will help you with your church research. The first thing to remember is that your family may have practiced a particular religion but when it came to baptism, marriage and burial it may have been a case of the closest church available, particularly if they lived a fair distance from their church of choice.

October 2

When researching the parish of your ancestors remember to search the surrounding parishes in case they may have decided to frequent the churches in those parishes. You never know they may have had a falling out with their church and started worshiping in another.

October 3

Ancestry.ca has the Drouin Collection (1747-1967) an index of Catholic Church records in Quebec and Ontario.

October 4

Did you know that in the very early days of settlement in Ontario if a couple wanted to get married and there was no church within 20 miles of their home that they would put a notice up on a tree in the town to announce their intention to marry. If they got no objections they were married. This must have happened in other places as well.

October 5

Did you know that the United Church of Canada began in 1925 and was created from congregations that were Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist? If you can’t find your people in the archives for those churches try the United Church.

October 6

The Public Archives and Record Office of Prince Edward Island have a Baptismal Index that spans roughly from 1777 to 1923.

October 7

There is an indexed called Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register for the Province of Ontario.

October 8

A great book for Irish church records is “Irish Church Records” By James G. Ryan published by Flyleaf Press.

October 9

There is a free searchable database at Ancestry.com’s ProGenealogists website called “Church of Ireland Parish Registers and Vestry Minutes at the RCBL in Dublin” RCBL is Representative Church Body Library.

October 10

Irish Genealogy which is part of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has a searchable database for church records. This is a work in progress and more are being added each month. These records refer to both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. You will find some Presbyterian records for Dublin.

October 11

Are you looking for Diocese and Parishes for the Church of Ireland? You can search their webpage to find current information. You will find the current minister and contact information. You may also find a website that could provide you with more information.

October 12

Want to get really confused about the history of the Scottish church? A copy of “Burleigh’s Chart of Scottish Churches” is a must in any genealogist’s library. You can find a reproduction in Kathleen B. Cory’s book “Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry.”

October 13

In Scotland sometimes a couple just had to announce their intentions to marry to people in their town and they were considered married. No record in a church or civil registration had to be made. This is one variation of an Irregular Marriage.

October 14

The ScotlandsPeople website has church registers for the Church of Scotland (Old Parish Registers OPRs) and the Roman Catholic births and baptisms.

October 15

Trying to find a parish in England? See if the Parish Locator can help. You can even find the distance between two parishes to see if your ancestors may have traveled to another parish to worship.

October 16

Another free resource is Online Parish Clerks (Genealogy) which is still a work in progress and covers only a few counties. They are looking for volunteers so if you can help I am sure they will appreciate it.

October 17

Ancestry.com has some location and date specific church records for England: London, West Yorkshire, Dorset, Warwickshire and Liverpool to name a few.

October 18

Ancestry.com also has some location and date specific church records for the United States. It appears to centre on the eastern states.

October 19
FamilySearch has a long list of christenings and burials in their catalogue for the United States.

October 20

FamilySearch has a database called “Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959” and one called “Canada Deaths and Burials, 1664-1955” these are general databases but the births and baptisms is a much larger database. Some of the information may be from the old International Genealogical Index.

October 21

FamilySearch has a database called “New Brunswick Births and Baptisms, 1819-1899” with over 22,000 records. There are Catholic records for Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia on FamilySearch.

October 22

If you are looking for Irish Catholic registers that are available to the public then check the online catalogue listing at the National Library of Ireland. They are working on digitizing this collection and putting it online.

October 23

FamilySearch has a database called “Ireland Birth and Baptisms, 1620-1881” which contains nearly 5,300,000 records. This is based on the International Genealogical Index.

October 24

The FamilySearch Wiki has a section called “England Church Records.”

October 25

They also have one called “Ireland Church Records.” They also get specific with Irish church records with pages for Church of Ireland, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Church History and Quaker.

October 26

Don’t assume that because you found a couple in a marriage index for Ireland that they married there.

October 27

The FamilySearch Wiki has a page on “United States Church Records.”

October 28

You will find a page for “Scotland Church Records” on the FamilySearch Wiki.

October 29

They have one on “Australian Church Records.”

October 30

And they have one on “New Zealand Church Records.”

October 31

Remember that church records are subject to the whims of the people taking care of them. Sometimes you will find them in the attic or basement of the family of one of the ministers of the church. They took them with them when they left/retired. They are also subject to natural disasters and the ravages of time.

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

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The first is from Eneclann who have put online the slides and/or a synopsis of the 20×20 talks presented at the National Library of Ireland this summer.

A new blog called Brit-Ish Heritage Forum has a post entitled “Finally! Lancashire Ancestral Research Un-plugged!” which looks at the FamilySearch Wiki page for Lancashire and how they have made it easier to find records for church, chapel and parish registers online.

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

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1250281

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!

Today I went to do a search on The Scotsman Digital Archive website. I clicked on my bookmark link and got a message that a password and user name was required.

A little research online provided the answer. ProQuest has obtained The Scotsman Digital Archive and this means the only way to access it is through their site. The problem with that is the only way to access their site is through an institution or library that has a subscription to their service.

This means that I won’t have access to this site anymore. My local library can’t afford this service. To my knowledge the nearest institution that has a subscription is the University of Toronto Library system. The problem is being able to access the information at the University of Toronto Library if you are not a student.

My last experience trying to access newspapers from ProQuest was that a student ID card and password were required. Since I don’t have one the staff told me I could sign in using a guest name and password but it expired after thirty minutes and the process had to be repeated. Access to computers for the general public is limited.

I am very disappointed that The Scotsman decided to do this with their digital archive. It has made it unavailable to many people. It may be time for ProQuest to open up their subscription service to the general public. They may be pleasantly surprised at the response if they provided a subscription at a reasonable rate.

Genealogists are fighting to have records released to the public, digitized and put online. It is a sad state of affairs when records important to genealogical research were accessible and are now being made inaccessible.

The Scotsman used to have a free search and then you would pay to access a digital image. The subscription price was very reasonable. Now researchers will be lucky if they can access this information at all.

This is a sad day for people researching their Scottish ancestry.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The National Archives blog had a post called “Discovery: the story so far” about their new catalogue called Discovery and how the upgrade is going.

The National Library of Ireland blog had two posts this week. The first was “My name is Jean, and I am a Family History Workshopaholic.” I can relate to Jean because I am a family history webinar and podcast “aholic.” It would be nice if the National Library of Ireland recorded these workshops as podcasts. This way we could all enjoy them no matter where we lived.

The other post was “Pettyfoggers and Vipers” which is about lawyers and the legal profession in Dublin. This is of interest to me as there are a lot of Dublin lawyers in my family history. This makes me want to take another trip to Dublin to see what else I can find.

Irish Genealogy News had two posts this week. The first was “TABs: missing parishes and corrections” which looks at the Tithe Applotment Books just released online by the National Archives of Ireland.

The second post is “Coming Soon….” which looks at the new databases that are to be released by the National Archives of Ireland and the timetable for their release.

Inside History Magazine blog has a new Q&A post called “Expert Q&A: Preserving your paper & photographic artefacts.”

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

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Have you ever heard of the Dumbells? They were a group of men who would travel the battle grounds in the First World War and entertain the troops in the trenches. The troupe was made up of Jack Ayre, Ross Hamilton, Red Newman, Albert Plunkett and Mert Plunkett. There were other members of the group one of which was Jack MacLaren who was a neighbour of my Grandparent’s in Toronto.

Captain Merton Plunkett was the organizer of the Dumbells Troupe. They were a group of soldiers who sang, performed skits and comedy acts to entertain the troops. According to the book “Al Plunkett: The Famous Dumbell”  “…Captain at once commenced selecting his talent from Canada’s 3rd Division in France. Hence, the birth of the “Dumbells,” so named because the 3rd Division insignia was that of a “Dumbell” prominently in view on all vehicles and equipment of the 3rd Canadian Division.”[1]

The book also notes that some of the players came from: 9th & 10th Field Ambulance; 58th Battalion; 116th Battalion; 5th Cmrs; and the 52nd, 49th, 42nd, and 43rd Battalions.

The Dumbells first show did not go very well and it wasn’t until Ross Hamilton arrived on stage dressed as ‘Marjorie’ and sang a song that things turned around. The place of the first performance is uncertain. It could have been a show for General Currie when he took charge of the Canadian troops or Gouy-Servins, France in the Passchendaele sector. Others think it might have been in August 1917 at Vimy Ridge. Most believe that the Gouy-Servins was the first show.[2]

Their repertoire contained such First World War hits as “Mademoiselle from Armentières,” “Pack Up Your Old Kit Bag” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.” They also played patriotic Canadian songs such as “It’s Canada (The Land for Me).” Jack Ayre penned the group’s theme song a tune called “Dumbell Rag.”[3]

It was hard work being a member of this troupe. They had to transport their own piano through the muck and over the land to the next performance. They created their own sets and costumes. They were the roadies who set up and dismantled the stage for every performance. The troupe created floodlights to help light the stage. The first floodlights were made out of candles and biscuit tins. As they became more popular they asked actresses from Britain for their old costumes so that characters like ‘Marjorie’ could come to life.

The soldiers had to return to their unit after each performance but as the performances became so important to troop morale they stayed together as a single unit. This troupe was so important to the soldiers and the players that when Leonard Young lost a leg in battle he returned to the troupe after he recuperated.

Each time the Dumbells were set to return to active service General Lipsett stepped in and reminded the powers that be the importance of this troupe. He said “Now as never before the troops need entertainment.”[4]

The Armistice did not stop the Dumbells from performing. They joined with the Princess Pat’s Comedy Company and created one large troupe. They would continue to entertain the troops who were waiting for demobilization.

It appears that “some of the other battalion concert parties were being disbanded. Colonel Adamson, O.C. of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battalion, 3rd Canadian Division, requested Captain to absorb some members of the Princess Pat’s Battalion concert party into the Dumbells. Our divisional party was to continue the entertainment of the troops to war’s end.”[5]  It was at this time that Jack MacLaren joined the group.

The group entertained the troops from 1917 until the end of the war in 1918. Their performances didn’t end there. After the war they entertained in venues across Canada and the United States. They even had a stint on Broadway. They toured North America from 1919 to 1932.[6]

You can read more about the Dumbells at the Virtual Gramophone on the Library and Archives Canada website.

You can also listen to some of their recordings at the Virtual Gramophone.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved


[1] Plunkett, Albert William; Earle Patrise. – Al Plunkett: the famous Dumbell- by Patrise Earle, as told by Al Plunkett, New York, Pageant Press (1956), page 55

[2] The Virtual Gramophone, Library and Archives Canada, (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/gramophone/028011-1007.1-e.html) viewed November 2012

[3] The Virtual Gramophone, Library and Archives Canada, (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/gramophone/028011-1007.1-e.html) viewed November 2012

[4] The Virtual Gramophone, Library and Archives Canada, (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/gramophone/028011-1007.1-e.html) viewed November 2012

[5] Plunkett, Albert William; Earle Patrise. – Al Plunkett: the famous Dumbell- by Patrise Earle, as told by Al Plunkett, New York, Pageant Press (1956), page 63

[6] The Virtual Gramophone, Library and Archives Canada, (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/gramophone/028011-1007.2-e.html) viewed November 2012

Lest We Forget

Ottawa War Memorial – First World War Side

Thank You for Your Service

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Ottawa War Memorial

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The Inside History blog has another Expert Q&A post called “Expert Q&A: How to research cemeteries in Sydney & NSW.” If you have people in this area then it is a good resource.

Now this is not a genealogy blog but the post was interesting. The Come Here to Me! blog is from Dublin Ireland. They had a posted called “Unusual Religions in the 1911 census.” The variety of different beliefs is wonderful. Who knew there were so many different beliefs in Dublin during that time period.

The In-Depth Genealogist blog has a post written by Jen Baldwin called “Filling the Void” where she found a void and decided to create something to fill it. Her new endeavour is very interesting.

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

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved