Thursday, 20 July 2017

Focus on an Archive: Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, NWT

On my recent trip to the Northwest Territories, I made sure I made a visit to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC). I'm very lucky in that my significant other is a history buff like me. He was all for taking a look with me. We made a point of planning our trip in such a way that we would be able to have lots of time to spend there.

Built in 1979, it is the Territorial Government's archive and museum.Now, unlike some of the Government Archives around the country, the PWNHC does not hold those usual records that we as genealogists crave, such as BMD's and land records. The reason for this is that these records are just too new to be publicly available. They are still held in the custody of the particular government department they belong to. Older records that don't fall under privacy legislation are most likely held in the Archives in the Prairie Provinces, all of which used to be part of the Northwest Territories.

The PWNHC instead focuses on a general history of the Territories. They do have some government records that relate more to the running of the Territory. They also have private collections of records from both individuals and businesses. There's an extensive photo collection, audio and visual files, and maps. You can also take a look at their collection of publications on the history of the Territory. For a more detailed explanation of their holdings, you can check their website here.

The jewel in the crown though is the museum. We spent a long time going through the building. I was very impressed with how interactive all the displays were. They have dioramas of all the various arctic animals. In front of each animal was a information stand, with statistics on the animal's size, habitat, etc. Many of them had pelts attached that you could touch. In a glass case beside each diorama were example of all the products that were made from that animal and tools. At the bottom of each case was the name of the animal in English, French, and several of the indigenous languages. You can also listen to audio files, some with elders talking about their experiences




There are also displays telling the history of the many different Native groups, and a general history of the Northwest Territories. There are displays of clothing, furniture, and an absolutely huge mooseskin boat. I learned a great deal in just a couple of hours.




Along with their permanent displays, the PWNHC have travelling exhibits available for NWT communities to display. They also have virtual exhibits online here.

The museum is open daily from 1030 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. There's a cafe onsite that is open the same hours. The archive is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m.-12 noon and 1 p.m. to 430 p.m. If you have mobility problems, both levels are designed to accommodate.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

I'm on holidays!

Just a heads up that there will be no regular weekly blog post this week. I am in beautiful British Columbia at the moment, and will be leaving for a road trip today to the Northwest Territories. Internet and cell service will be sketchy. But rest assured I will be back next week!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What's in a Name? A Look at Naming Patterns




Our ancestors seemed to have loved reusing names. For us, many many years later, it can be enough to yank your hair out to have discovered that you've traced back to yet another John, James, Mary, or Margaret. Middle names become very important. My own two middle names are from one paternal great grandmother, and one maternal great grandmother.

If you have a strong heritage to a particular country, your family may have followed a long standing naming tradition for first names. On the surface it may seem frustrating, but there are some great clues in these traditions that can help you establish another generation back.

French Canadian Naming Patterns
These can be confusing, without throwing in "dit" names. That's a whole blog post in itself. Usually a child would have three names


  • First name: Joseph or Marie, depending on the sex of the child
  • Second name: name of Godfather or Godmother, depending on the sex of the child
  • Third name: the name they were generally known by
On my maternal side, this has occurred right up until my mother's generation. The only deviation in my mom and her siblings is that there were only two names. It is their middle name that they go by. 


Scottish Naming Patterns
According to FindMyPast's blog post, they were actually two different traditional naming patterns people followed. They caution that not everyone used the naming traditions.

The first pattern for boys was:

  • First son: father's father
  • Second son: mother's father
  • Third son: father
  • Fourth son: father's eldest brother, or father's paternal grandfather
  • Fifth son: mother's eldest brother, or mother's paternal grandfather
For girls:
  • First daughter: mother's mother
  • Second daughter: father's mother
  • Third daughter: mother
  • Fourth daughter: mother's eldest sister, or mother's maternal grandmother
  • Fifth daughter: named after father's eldest sister, or father's maternal grandmother
See the link above for details on the second naming tradition.

English and Irish Naming Patterns
The traditional naming pattern of England is very similar to the Scottish. 

Boys:
  • First son: father's father
  • Second son: mother's father
  • Third son: father
  • Fourth son: father's eldest brother
  • Fifth son: father's second eldest brother, or mother's eldest brother
Girls:
  • First daughter: mother's mother
  • Second daughter: father's mother
  • Third daughter: mother
  • Fourth daughter: mother's eldest sister
  • Fifth daughter: mother's second eldest sister, or father's eldest sister
The British also tended to use maiden names as middle names. This can be extremely helpful with tracing your female ancestors. I once had a friend ask me to find out where the middle name "Steel" came from in her family line. It was a long standing tradition to give the first born son this as a middle name. It turned out it was the maiden name of her 3x great grandmother. It had traveled down through 5 generations of sons as a middle name. 

German Naming Patterns
Similar to French Canadians, Germans traditionally used a religious name first, and the name they went by was second. In my Lunenburg ancestors, I have a lot of "Johann" and "Anna" as first names. For the commonly used name, they usually followed the following pattern:

For boys:
  • First son: father's father
  • Second son: mother's father
  • Third son: father
  • Fourth son: father's paternal grandfather
  • Fifth son: mother's paternal grandfather
  • Sixth son: father's maternal grandfather
  • Seventh son: mother's maternal grandfather
For girls:
  • First daughter: mother's mother
  • Second daughter: father's mother
  • Third daughter: mother
  • Fourth daughter: father's paternal grandmother
  • Fifth daughter: mother's paternal grandmother
  • Sixth daughter: father's maternal grandmother
  • Seventh daughter: mother's maternal grandmother
Ukranian Naming Patterns
The Canadian West in particular has strong Ukranian roots. A traditional Ukranian name would follow the following:

For boys:
  • First name: name they are called by
  • Middle name: (father's name) with the suffix "ovych" or "yovych"
For girls:
  • First name: name they are called by
  • Middle name: (father's name) with the suffix "ivna" or "yivna" 
So if the father's name was Ivan, then the son's middle name would be "Ivanovich". His daughter's middle name would be "Ivanivna".



Now keep in mind that not everyone stuck to ethnic naming patterns. Some families tended to have their own unique versions. I've seen traditions where a son's middle name was a father's first name. But if you're lucky enough to see a pattern develop, it can give you some great clues on getting another generation back.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

My Canada 150 Ancestors

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Canada


HAPPY CANADA DAY!


Patricia Greber at My Genealogy Life has challenged Canadian bloggers to list their ancestors who were here in 1867, our country's year of Confederation. We are supposed to list our ancestor, their year of arrival and where they settled. Now, my ancestral lines that were here in 1867 actually came in the 1600's and 1700's. Because of this, those alive in 1867 were born here. I'm also only going to concentrate on my direct line ancestors, because otherwise it would be next Canada Day before I was able to finish listing them all! Here's my list of ancestors confirmed alive in 1867:


Name                                                 Born                                  Where they were in 1867

James Edward Johnson  Jr.               1864                                   Halifax County NS

James Edward Johnson Sr.               1841                                   Halifax County NS

Jacob Johnson                                   1792                                   Halifax County NS

Catherine Boutilier                            1811                                   Halifax County NS

Deborah Covey                                 1844                                   Halifax County NS

John Covey                                       abt. 1814                             Halifax County NS

Maria Anna Hubly                            abt. 1811                             Halifax County NS

Anna Maria Kohler                          1774                                     Halifax County NS

William J Boutilier                           1834                                    Halifax County NS

Martha Eisenhauer                           1840                                     Halifax County NS

Micheal Eisenhauer                         1803                                     Halifax County NS

Sophia Lantz                                    1812                                     Halifax County NS

Johann Jacob Lantz                          1787                                     Lunenburg NS

Regina Magdelene Ernst                  1785                                     Lunenburg NS

Mary Govereau                                1855                                  Northumberland Cnty NB

Honore Govereau  (aka Germain Deneau) 1812                    Northumberland County NB

Appoline Savoie                              abt. 1823                        Northumberland County NB

Helene Breau                                   abt 1790                         Northumberland County NB

Jean Julian Mallais                          1847                                      Gloucester County NB

Joseph Jules Mallais                        1818                                      Gloucester County NB

Marie Aylward                                 1822                                      Gloucester County NB

Marie Victorine Ferguson                1846                                      Gloucester County NB

Francois David Ferguson                 1811                                      Gloucester County NB

Jean McLaughlin                             abt 1857                                 Gloucester County NB

Jacques James McLaughlin             1821                                       Gloucester County NB

Jean McLaughlin                             1795                                       Gloucester County NB

Isabelle Saulnier                               abt 1790                                Gloucester County NB

Elizabeth Robinson                          1824                                      Gloucester County NB

Mary Louise Elizabeth Fournier      abt. 1858                                Gloucester County NB

Guillaume Fournier                          1832                                       Gloucester County NB

Marie Anne Brideau                        1829                                       Gloucester County NB

Louis Brideau                                  1799                                       Gloucester County NB

Josephette McLaughlin                   1802                                        Gloucester County NB



I hope next year to possibly add in my Douglas line. My great grandfather James Henry Douglas was born after Confederation. There's conflicting evidence on his birth. Some documents say Ontario, while others say England.

You may have noticed no McDonald names in the list. This ironically is my biggest brick wall line. My great grandfather was born about 1894 in Ontario. His parents were John Angus McDonald and Mildred Murphy. He states on his marriage certificate from 1956 (he and my great grandmother were together for over 30 years before they got married) that his parents were born in Ireland. I have not found a birth for John Wellington, or any records on John Angus or Mildred.

Was your family here in 1867? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Library and Archives Canada Microfilms on Heritage Website


One of the problems when you don't live close to the LAC is that making a trip there to see items they haven't digitized on their site difficult. For many of us, it's not going to be a day trip. What is little advertised though is that some of the microfilms are digitized on the website Canadiana in their Heritage collection. I stumbled onto this just recently. Then a couple of days later, it came up in a Canadian genealogy chat session I was logged onto. It's like the universe was telling me to write about it.

The past couple of weeks I was looking into home children records for a friend on Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Way down near the bottom of the page describing their collection of Home Children records, it explained under accessing and obtaining copies that certain microfilms have been digitized on the Heritage website.

Now I haven't used Heritage very much before. I find it very difficult to use, and there are no instructions on the site to help you. For example, if you type in "Home children" into the search box, there are 446 results. The results have rather ambiguous names like [Governor General] numbered files T-1482 or Canadian Lutheran World Relief Fonds. Also, nothing is indexed, so you will have to wade through the images on each microfilm. [Governor General] numbered files T-1482 has 2086 images. Canadian Lutheran World Relief Fonds has 22 reels. I didn't click on all of them to see how many images, but the ones I did ranged from 800- 1300 for each reel. Now, sometimes we have to do a lot of browsing in genealogy to find the one little bit of information, but this borders on insanity. But I recently learned that if you search by microfilm number, you can find out so much information, without making you want to beat your head against a wall.

What you want to take note of in the search results on LAC is the microfilm number. Here's a screen shot of the home child I was looking into:

Source: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/immigration-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=65330

Now, if you look at the comments section, it says to "See also reel T-528 (manifest index) and RG76, Central Registry Files, volume 64, file 3081, part 1, reel C-4732". Ok, so I went over to Heritage and put "T-528" in the search box. First result that comes up is Index to Passengers Lists, 1900-1908: T-528. After clicking on that, I was taken to image 1 of the reel.



By going to image 2, I find out it starts with ships that arrived in July of 1907. Since I know from the screenshot above he arrived 2 August 1907, I started jumping ahead in the images by using the drop down menu in the top left. I then found him on image 360 in the middle of the page.




So then went back to the main screen and typed in the second microfilm mentioned in the comments section "C-4732". Once I got the results and clicked on Immigration Program : Headquarters Central Registry Files : C-4732, I then did the same thing I did with the first roll I looked at. From the LAC information, I knew I was looking for Volume 64, File 3081, part 1. So I  jumped back and forth through the images, At the bottom of the page it shows the file number and part. When I got to file 3081 part 1, I soon realized it was in chronological order. So I was able to keep flipping forward until I came to what I was looking for. Not only did I find a manifest with his name, but a copy of a medical certificate with the name of the doctor who gave 73 children a clean bill of health to travel (Wilfred is listed on the next page):

Source: http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c4732/1009?r=0&s=1

I also found a letter stating that Mr. Merry, the man who brought Wilfred's group over, was paid 2 dollars per child. While I found it interesting, I also found it sad.



Now, not all home children microfilms are on here. I also put a microfilm reel for one of my own home children "Dugal Herd" in the search box, and it wasn't in the Heritage Collection.

You can also find microfilm reels from other collections on here. I randomly started going through different LAC collections and typing in microfilm numbers that I found. Here's the collections that I found microfilms on Heritage. Take note that I didn't try every microfilm listed in the collections below, just a few from each one:


  • Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930
  • Placide Gaudet Fonds (Acadian Research)
  • Sir Frederick Haldimand Papers (Loyalist Research)
  • Vladimir Julian Kaye fonds (Ukranian Research)
  • Report on deportation of Germans from South Africa C-10596
  • Deportation of insane person 1925-1930 C-7843

As you can see from my sampling above, you can find microfilm reels from many different categories. I also found many where the microfilm wasn't there. So play around with it. The lack of search capabilities on the microfilm reel itself is a bit tedious. But, if making a trip to LAC is not in the cards for you, a little tedium at your computer screen is worth it.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Part 4 After 1968 in Western Canada

Source: http://pdpics.com/photo/2579-broken-heart-cut-paper/





This week we're finishing up by looking at Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.


Saskatchewan
As stated in Part 1, divorce was handled provincially beginning in 1920. It is handled by the Court of Queen's Bench. In 1994, a separate division of the court was created to deal solely with family law.

The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan has divorce files up until 1930. These are listed under court records for the King's Bench (remember Queen Elizabeth had not ascended to the throne yet, so we still had a King). According to the section of court records on their website, they have docket books, or indexes, for most of their records. The majority are open to researchers, but you can only access on site. You can fill out a request form on their records here.

After 1930, you will have to go through the particular courthouse that handled the proceedings. The Courts have a pdf on access to records here. Scroll down to page 25 for access on Family Law cases.
The Courts of Saskatchewan website has the contact information of Queen's Bench Courthouses here.

Decisions of the court are public information. The Law Society of Saskatchewan has a database online of Court of Queen's Bench decisions on the CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) website. You can find decisions from as early as 1900 right up to present day. Not all years are available. You can search by year, or you can search with specific terms. There are almost 4,000 cases with the keyword "divorce".  When I added the last name "McDonald" it shrunk down to 4 results.


Alberta
Like Saskatchewan, divorces were handled at the provincial level as of 1920. This is handled by the Court of Queen's Bench.

The Provincial Archives of Alberta has divorce files in their holdings from across the province. I used their search function with the keyword "divorce". I then narrowed it to "Government and Private Collections". There are 68 collections in their holdings. The years ranch from the early 1900's to 1979. The collections appear to be grouped by location. From what I could see, very little if any of them are microfilmed. As such, you will have to make an onsite visit.

After 1979, you will have to go through the particular courthouse. You can get contact information of the various courthouses through the Alberta Courts website here. According their pdf on public and media access, there are no mandatory restrictions on divorce cases.

You can search CanLII for Alberta Queen's Bench decisions here. The year range is 1912 to present day, with the year 1933 not available. There are over 3,000 decisions on the site with the keyword "divorce". Adding "McDonald" for a surname narrowed it down to just 2.


British Columbia
BC is one of those provinces where divorce has always fallen under provincial jurisdiction. These are handled by the Supreme Court. The BC Archives has an Introduction to Divorce Records pdf. Included in it is a history of divorce law in British Columbia, and resources you can use.

Records are routinely transferred to the BC Archives. They have put together a short pdf about court records in general in their holdings. This will give you an idea of what they have and access. Note under access that while the divorce orders and judgements are open access, the case files of the actual divorce proceedings are not. They have a research guide on divorce records themselves. According to the guide, they hold records up to 1983. these are not microfilmed that I could see, so you will only be able to access onsite.

After 1983 you will have to go through the courthouse that handled the divorce. The Courts of British Columbia has in interactive map of courthouse locations here. Click on a location and it will give you the contact information. According to page 21 the Courts of British Columbia's pdf on public access to records, only the party's involved and their lawyers can access the court files. You must otherwise obtain written permission from either the divorcing parties or their lawyers to gain access.

You can also search CanLII for judgements here. It covers the years 1912 to present day, with 1933 missing. The keyword "divorce" gave me over 9,000 results. Narrowing it to include "McDonald" gave me 10 results.


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Part 3 - After 1968 in Central Canada

Source: http://pdpics.com/photo/2579-broken-heart-cut-paper/


This week we'll be looking at divorce records in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba

Quebec
As stated in Part 1, divorce was handled federally up to 1968. But, unlike other areas of Canada, a couple could become legally separated through the province's civil code. These were done by notaries. A notice of action had to be printed in the provincial version of the Canada Gazette, Quebec's Gazette officielle du Quebec. You can find a searchable database on BAnQ. You can download the pages as a pdf or print. The search function is only available in French. The resulting pages will either be in French only, or both French and English, depending on the issue. You will get the name of the petitioner (plaintiff), their spouse (defendant), the court name and district, and the cause number.

As for notarial records, these can also be searched on BAnQ, in their database Archives des Notaires du Quebec des origines a 1936. This also in French only, but is easy to figure out. You cannot search for a particular entry. What you want to do is narrow it down to a particular notary. If you already know who that is, then go through the alphabetical listings under the heading "Par nom". If you don't know who, then narrow down by the region, then district. Then, you can scroll through the images of the notary. These can be narrowed down in different ways, depending on which notary you are looking at. It will be time consuming, but pretty interesting stuff when you get into it.

The other place to look for notarial records is Ancestry's two databases Quebec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection), 1647-1942, and Quebec, Canada Notarial Records, 1626-1935 The first collection is indexed by notary name. The images may not the actual actes, but the indexes made by the notary themselves. It will give you the type of act, the persons involved, and the act number. These are arranged by year. With this information you can then seek the repositories to find the record. Gail Dever at Genealogy a la Carte has a great tutorial on the second database here.

The Superior Court of Quebec handled divorce cases once it fell under the jurisdiction of provincial courts. In order to obtain the records, you must justify your reason for requesting them. I could not find anything stating what restrictions there were to access the information.You will have to go through the courthouse that handled the divorce, and have proof of identity. You can access the contact information for the various courthouses on Justice Quebec's website here


Ontario
Divorce could be obtained provincially in Ontario from 1931. It is handled through the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice. Divorce files from 1931- 1980 are housed at the Archives of Ontario (AO). It is not so simple as just going there and asking to see them however. You need to have the file number, year of divorce, and the location (county or district) that the divorce took place. If you need to consult indexes to find this information, then you will have to go through some steps:

  • If the divorce was between 1931 and May 1949, the index could be at the AO, but it may not. Most of the indexes for this time period are held at the courthouse where the divorce was filed.
  • If the divorce was between June 1949 and before July 1968, the AO has province wide indexes on microfilm.
  • After July 1968, you must will have to look at the indexes compiled by the Supreme Court. These may be at the AO, or they may only be at the courthouse where the divorce was filed.
Once you have the information you need to give to the AO, you can then proceed to get the information on the divorce. If all you need is a copy of the Divorce Decree, you can request one. Since divorce records are stored offsite, it may take a couple of weeks for this to be ready for you. They will either mail it, or you can pick it up in person. The fee is $33.00. If you need to see the file itself, they you MUST call ahead to arrange for it to be there when you visit. They need a minimum of one business day. The AO has a fantastic research guide on divorce files here. It takes you step by step through the process, and at the end has all the contact information for the various courthouses in the province. If the divorce took place in York County however, there is a separate research guide for that here.

After 1980, you will have to contact the courthouse that handled the divorce proceedings. There does not seem to be restrictions on accessing the decisions of the court. You can also do a search of decisions on the Superior Court of Justice's webpage. When I typed in the search area the keywords "marriage divorce", I got over 4,000 different cases. Of course, you will want to narrow it further by name.

Update June 25: Look to the comments section below for the comment from Yithio. Divorce files up to 1985 are at the AO. And, as I suspected in my section on the Central Registry in Part 2, privacy laws dictate that only those involved in the divorce proceedings can use this resource.


Manitoba
Divorce was handles provincially in Manitoba from 1920, though you may find some as early as 1917. They were handled by the Divorce Court of the Court of Queen's Bench up until 1984. Since then it has been handled by the Family Division of the Court of Queen's Bench. Records have no restrictions to access that I could find. 

The Archives of Manitoba has records from 1917-1983. These are divided by region. There are indexes on microfilm that can be viewed on site, or may be available for inter library loan. Check with the Archives on what's available for loan. The records themselves can only be viewed at the Archives. As they are stored off site, they will require two business days notice to have them there for you to view.

For post 1983 records, you will need to go to the courthouse that handled the divorce. the Queen's Court Bench has an online central registry that you can search here. Type in a name and make sure you tick the box "QB Family". It will give you a listing of court cases with that name. By clicking on the case number, it will give you all the file details you need, including the courthouse that handled the case. You can then contact the courthouse for access to the file. You can find locations and contact information of courthouses in the province here.

Next week we'll look at Western Canada.