British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa


Anglo-Celtic Roots Winter 2017 issue now available online for members
The Winter 2017 issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots has been published and is available online for our members by logging in to the Members Only section and clicking on Anglo-Celtic Roots. In this issue, Dianne Brydon explains in The Documents Never Lie how a mystery about the arrival and early lives in Canada of her ancestors, Robert Brydon and Margaret Armstrong, was solved after considerable digging in various archives. Charles Morton writes about his life in Machester Life in the 1930s, and Terry Findley gives us a peek at the life of his wife's great-great-grandfather, who became a respected surgeon, in the article They Called Him Mister Wickham: Edward Wickham, 1794-1879. Our WWI biography series continues with a story about the untimely death of Private Charles Edward Smith and his unit, the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 
For our friends who are not members, more than 20 years of Anglo-Celtic Roots are available in the Publications section on our website, including the Winter 2016 issue.
Meet our 2017-2018 Board of Directors
Meet our new Board of Directors, elected and appointed at our annual general meeting on June 10, 2017.
Left to right: Glenn Wright, past president; Mary-Lou Simac, director, Publicity; Barbara Tose, president; Gillian Leitch, recording secretary; Kathy Wallace, director, Membership; Marianne Rasmus, treasurer; Andrea Harding, director, Education; Anne Moralejo, director, Communications. Absent: Lisa-Dawn Crawley, director at large. 
2017 BIFHSGO Hall of Fame inductee
Congratulations to BIFHSGO's latest Hall of Fame inductee, Gail Dever, who was recognized for her contributions to our society at our annual family history conference on September 30, 2017. President Barbara Tose presented her with a framed certificate.
For several years, Gail has been instrumental in managing BIFHSGO's website. Each year, she plays an important role in the success of our conference by maintaining its online presence, in addition to giving several talks at the event. Through her blog, Genealogy à la carte, she contributes to the genealogy community at large and often promotes BIFHSGO. 
Read more about Gail and previous inductees in our Hall of Fame section.
Gail Roger receives certificate of appreciation
At our September 9, 2017 monthly meeting, president Barbara Tose presented a certificate of appreciation to Gail Roger in appreciation of her many exceptional presentations delivered at monthly meetings during the past 13 years.
Barbara said, "It took Gail a few years before she decided to give a presentation, but since then she has entertained us almost yearly with her well-prepared, informative, and humourous presentations, delivered with such aplomb." 
Although Gail is moving to the west coast, she will remain a BIFHSGO member. We wish her well in her new location and hope she will visit us from time to time with tales of her genealogical adventures.
'Sinking of the SS Portsdown' presentation recorded for members
BIFHSGO members who missed our September monthly meeting, when John McConkey spoke about the sinking of the SS Portsdown, can watch his presentation in the Handouts and Videos page in the Members Only section of our website.
Many British ships were sunk by Hitler’s navy during World War II. Most of these sinkings occurred on the high seas far from land.
No one thought that an inland ferry might be subject to danger, so an explosion on 20 September 1941 on a paddle steamer sailing from Portsmouth to Ryde was a devastating shock. The event had an overwhelming effect on several Isle of Wight families, but details and, in particular, the names of casualties were kept under wraps by the government.
As a 75th anniversary memorial to victims, John researched the disaster and documented his findings in an article for the Isle of Wight Family History Society. The article won first prize in the 2016 best article competition. His talk gave details of the event, listed the victims, and explained the research process.
In the Members Only section, we have made available many handouts and videos from presentations delivered at our monthly meetings and conferences.
BIFHSGO announces best article and presentations of the year by members
At BIFHSGO's annual general meeting on June 10, 2017, president Barbara Tose announced the winners of the Best Anglo-Celtic Roots Article by a Member, Best Before BIFHSGO Talk by a Member, and Best Talk by Member awards
Inaugurating the award for the Best Before BIFHSGO Talk by a Member, Barbara announced that Glenn Wright was recognized for his talk, Canadians on Vimy Ridge, 1917: A Short Guide to Resources and Research, delivered in April of this year.
When announcing the winner of the Best Talk by a Member award, Barbara said, "We have an abundance of riches when it comes to great talks to choose from.
"However, it will come as no surprise to people who have heard her presentations to learn that this year our award goes to Christine Jackson." Christine's winning presentation was The Queen's Coachman—Our Only Claim to Fame.
The winner of our Best Anglo-Celtic Roots Article by a Member award was Terry Findley for his article, The Cutler with a Social Conscience: Joseph Banks Durham, 1816-1899, in the Winter 2016 edition, selected by a team of judges who reviewed all the articles published last year.
Previous award winners are listed here.
Join BIFHSGO at the Ontario Genealogical Society's conference in Ottawa
It's not every day the biggest genealogy event in Canada comes to town—and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and many of our members will be there to meet you, from June 15 to 19, 2017, at Algonquin College, Ottawa. You can still attend by registering at the door for one or more days. Online registration has closed. Details on the OGS conference website.
We'd love to meet you at our table in the free, public Marketplace where you will have an opportunity to meet with many exhibitors and vendors. The Marketplace is open: 
Friday, June 16: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 17: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 18: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Monday, June 19: 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
British Pub Night
BIFHSGO is excited to host and sponsor the sold-out British Pub Night on Thursday, June 15. We'll be meeting up with friends in the pub for conversation, food and drink. There will be door prizes, a British trivia contest, and traditional British music. Working hard to make this a fun evening for conference delegates have been Lisa-Dawn Crawley, Jane Down, Barbara Tose, and Glenn Wright.
DNA session sponsor
Our DNA special interest group is proud to sponsor Linda L. Reid's session, Back to 18th Century Scotland with Autosomal DNA: Case Studies.
Presentations by members
This year, five of our members will be among the many genealogy experts speaking at the conference. 
Lesley Anderson
Searching Effectively for Canadian Records on
Blaine Bettinger
The Science Fiction Future of Genetic Genealogy;
Using Autosomal DNA for 18th and 19th Century Mysteries
Sharon Callaghan
Quebec Notary Records—Primary Resource for Ancestors’ Documents
Gail Dever
The “Crème de la Crème” of Online Resources for Quebec Research
Christine Jackson
Rollin’ on the River with Captain Dan: The Impact of a Pioneer Ottawa Valley Family
Extraordinary BIFHSGO volunteers
This conference would not be possible without the dozens of volunteers from our society, many of whom are also OGS Ottawa Branch members. Sitting on the Program Committee are Jane Down, Heather Oakley, John Reid, and Glenn Wright, who worked hard with their fellow committee members to include topics about genealogy research across Canada to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Mary-Lou Simac coordinated the Thursday research excusions and will escort tours with Jane Down, Lynda Gibson, John Reid, and Glenn WrightPam Cooper has brought together a dynamic team of volunteers, and our own expert, Doug Hoddinott, is a member of the conference technical team. Andrea Harding has successfully worn many hats, including sponsorship and publicity, and Lisa-Dawn Crawley will be working at Ancestry Day. Ken McKinlay has organized the Research Room where conference delegates will have free access to subscription websites during the conference. Participating on the social media team are Lisa-Dawn Crawley, Gail Dever, and John Reid. Other members have volunteered to chair sessions and collect tickets. 
We hope to see you there! 
British Home Children book launched at BIFHSGO
BIFHSGO was proud to host an event Saturday, November 12, 2016, to launch Dr. Patricia Roberts-Pichette’s book, Great Canadian Expectations: The Middlemore Experience, about the almost 5,000 British Home Children who came to Canada between 1873 and 1936.
In all, more than 100,000 British Home Children came to Canada between 1869 and 1948, brought here by more than 50 British emigration agencies, including homes sponsored by John Throgmorton Middlemore, a medical doctor from Birmingham, England.
It is estimated that four million Canadians—12 percent of the country’s population—are descendants of a British Home Child.
BIFHSGO president Barbara Tose said, “We are very pleased to announce the publication of this wonderful book by Dr. Roberts-Pichette, which is an important addition to the study of Home Children. Since joining BIFHSGO in 1995 Patricia has been a significant contributor to our website’s searchable online databases about Home Children who came to Canada. Her efforts on behalf of BIFHSGO prompted her induction into our Hall of Fame in 2007.”
Copies of the book are available from Global Genealogy.
Meet our 2016-2017 board of directors
Meet our new Board of directors, elected and appointed at our annual general meeting on June 11, 2016.
Left to right: Mary-Lou Simac, director, Publicity; Marianne Rasmus, treasurer; Anne Moralejo, director, Communications; Barbara Tose, president; Glenn Wright, past president; Karin Keyes Endemann, director at large; Kathy Wallace, director, Membership; Andrea Harding, director, Education. Absent: Gillian Leitch, recording secretary; Dave Cross, director, Research; and Jane Down, director, Programs.
Hall of Fame 2016 inductees
Congratulations to BIFHSGO's 2016 Hall of Fame inductees, Lesley Anderson and Brian Glenn, who were recognized for their contributions to our society at our annual general meeting on June 22, 2016. President Barbara Tose presented them with certificates.
Lesley was recognized for her contributions to the society, and beyond, in genealogy education and facilitating a wide range of Canadian records becoming available online.
Brian was recognized for contributions to the society as a board member active in research and projects, in making presentations, and in developing the society's online facilities.
Every year, our members nominate BIFHSGO members who have made great contributions to family history research. Criteria include the advancement of BIFHSGO objectives, projects or activities, outstanding service to the society over a period of time, and the advancement of genealogy and family history in general.
Visit our Hall of Fame page to read about previous inductees.
BIFHSGO launches Lancashire Diaries collection, 1772-1910
BIFHSGO president Barbara Tose announced today that we have launched the Lancashire Diaries, 1772-1910, an online collection of diaries from Lancashire, England that contain more than 1,000 surnames.
The database, also known as the Scowcroft Diaries, indexes the original transcriptions by Arthur W. Critchley of a diary kept for more than 50 years by Lancashire grocer and overseer Samuel Scowcroft. The diaries paint a picture of Lancashire farm life and the cotton industry during the 19th century as well as during part of the 18th and 20th centuries.
Barbara said, "Thanks to member Bryan Cook, who compiled and edited the information, these first-hand accounts are now available to family historians worldwide. We hope this online collection will help those with Lancashire roots break through a genealogy brick wall."
Researchers will also find in the Lancashire Diaries collection a list of all the names in the Scowcroft family tree, along with a catalogue of unusual history books at the Turton Local History Society.    
DNA special interest group to offer mentoring and more meetings in 2016
Due to the growing interest in genetic genealogy as a tool in genealogical research, our DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) will make four important changes this year to allow more of our members to learn and benefit from the knowledge of fellow members.
  1. A mentoring program will be set up to pair knowledgeable members with those who would like help understanding the ins and outs of DNA.
  2. The frequency of meetings will be increased from three to five meetings to be held February 6, April 2, July 2, August 6, and October 1.
  3. Great Moments in DNA Research sessions, based on the popular seesions held at some of BIFHSGO's monthly meetings, will be introduced.
  4. Meetings will be held in the larger Room 115 at 100 Tallwood Drive, City of Ottawa Archives.
Details about the DNA SIG meetings are available in the Meetings section. Learn about genetic genealogy on the DNA SIG section.
Members and non-members can now book a table at our meetings
We invite BIFHSGO members and non-members to book a table at our monthly meetings. If you are interested in reserving a table at one of our meetings, please contact our research director, Dave Cross.
The tables are used for BIFHSGO business and topics pertaining to genealogy. Members are encouraged to share items of interest with their fellow members. There is no charge, but the number of available tables is limited, so contact Dave in advance.
New tutorial on our YouTube channel created to help members access Members Only section
To help our members access the Members Only section of our website, we have created a short tutorial. Learn more about this video and others on our YouTube Channel page.
New lecture added to our YouTube channel about WWI research
Watch BIFHSGO member Ken McKinlay's lecture, A Soldier of the Great War, about resources he used to learn about two soldiers who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War One. To see this lecture and other videos, visit our YouTube Channel page.
Twenty years of BIFHSGO volunteers – A Video
BIFHSGO's Twenty Years of Faces: 1994 to 2014 is a short video montage of photos of some of the people who helped build our society throughout the years. It was first shown at our conference in September 2014. To see this video, visit our YouTube Channel page.