Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Canadian Copyright Laws

The Canadian Government has begun hearings on changing the copyright laws in this country. It is of great interest to those genealogists who are thinking of writing their research into book form. For example, Douglas Fevens found that his “Fevens- A Family History” was digitized by Google books without his permission. He writes in a letter to the editor to the University of Wisconsin:

“I wrote a book in 2004. It was not created to become a bestseller; only 200 were printed. But it was my book, about my family. I say "was" because the University of Wisconsin, in a commercial venture with Google Inc., has digitized it and now holds virtual copies, which I consider digital printing plates, and an infringement of my copyright.”

David Canton a business lawyer and trade-mark agent writes in his blog E-Legal:
“The Federal government has just launched public consultations intended to lead to a new copyright reform bill. The last few attempts to revise copyright law have not become law - but have been highly controversial. This is an important topic that affects things we do every day. “
How the new copyright bill evolves is of great importance to the genealogical community in Canada. Michael Geist writes in his blog “ In a nutshell, the government is asking Canadians to describe why copyright matters, how to ensure that reforms remain relevant, and what reforms would best foster innovation, creativity, and competition“. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4173/125/

Speak out on copyright changes by following Michael Geist’s new blog “Speak Out On Copyright” http://www.speakoutoncopyright.ca/ or join Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook Group.

It matters.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Latin Quarter 1945

Apparently, my mother's visit to New York was a little more riske that I thought. Not only did she visit two Broadway plays(reported in earlier blogs). There was also a visit to the Latin Quarter. Amazing what you can find when you go through your parents stuff that you never imagined existed.
The Latin Quarter is a magic name even for me. In the 1960's(when I was old enough to appreciate it) there was a Latin Quarter in London, Ontario. With waitress's dressed in bunny costumes, music by Johnny Down's orchestra, it was one of the romantic spots to take a serious date. The other was the Stork Club in Pt. Stanley.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ancestry In Ontario Libraries

From the Ontario Ministry of Culture press release:
“We have completed negotiations for a two year license for Micromedia ProQuest’s Ancestry Library Edition. Ancestry is a genealogy research tool with data from census, military records, court, land, probate, vital and church records, passenger lists, etc. It covers Canada, the US, UK, and some European countries. The license covers Authorized Users of public libraries (i.e., library cardholders, walk-in patrons while they are on-site and library staff) through any workstation in any library branch. The product is not licensed for remote access“. 
All public libraries that submitted a participation agreement by an April due date should have been up and running by May 1st. Others will be added on a month to month basis. Its free(even though our taxes pay for it).
I tried it out at my local public library yesterday. Some of the search features a little different than the previous subscription. Other than that it’s the same old same old: however, I haven’t found a suitable alternative to ancestry that doesn’t involve wading through dusty moldy records. It is a two year agreement so use it or lose it people!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Newspapers In The London Area

For genealogists one of the primary sources for research is the local newspaper. Increasingly many of the major dailies are finding themselves online. Lots of luck for the newspapers of Middlesex and Elgin Counties. How are you with 20th century technology?
For Elgin County the Elgin County Library has microfilms of the St. Thomas times Journal, the Dutton Advance, and the West Lorne Mercury Sun.
For Middlesex County the London Public Library has microfilms of the London Free Press, the London Advertiser, and other smaller papers that were published in Middlesex County. The best and most complete microfilm collection is to be found at the University of Western Ontario. They just about have everything; however, be prepared to write notes as they will not copy any pages for you. For some reason the West Lorne and Rodney papers were put in the regional room separate from the other microfilms, and has gone missing. Darn they will steal anything nowadays!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Steele’s and Thomas’s

My mother’s side of the family is an interesting one. Matthew Steele(1805-?) and Mary Ann Fletcher immigrated from Scotland to a farm in West Nissouri Township Middlesex County. Their farm was near the village of Thorndale just north and east of London, Ontario. They had five children Donald(b.1845 London-d. 10 December 1914 in Middlesex County), Archibald(b.1847-d. 28 July 1907), Andrew(b.1848-d.?), Laura(b.1841-d.?), John(b.1856-d.?). Donald Steele(my great grandfather married Mary Jane Coleman(b.20 June 1848 Middlesex County-d. 20 October 1933 Middlesex County). They were married 18 May 1881 in Middlesex County. Their marriage certificate shows Donald Steele as a shoemaker in Thorndale. They had two children William Fletcher(b. 15 May 1885 in Thorndale-d. June 1935 in London), Ethel Pearl(b. 1892 in Thorndale-d. ?). William Fletcher Steele married Hilda May Thomas 31 December 1918 in London. They had two children Audrey June(b. 15 May 1921-d.1989 in London), Cameron Fletcher(b. 8 July 1924 in London- d. sometime before 1999 in Hamilton, Ontario).
My grandmother’s family were from Cornwall. Her father Edward John Thomas(b. 1858 Cornwall-d. 13 February 1892 London), and mother Maria Gartrell Rickard(b. 19 September 1862 Callington, Cornwall-d. 2 June 1914 London, Ontario) immigrated to West Nissouri sometime around 1890 as they can be found in the 1891 Canada Census. There is some indication from their son’s census returns of 1911that they came via Boston. They had four children Arthur Edward(b. 17 October 1884- d.6 March 1919 of the influenza outbreak in London, Ontario), Maude Maria Beatrice(b. 2 July 1886 Cornwall- d. ?), Raleigh Ewart Cornelius(1889 Falmoth, Cornwall, England- d. ?). and Hilda May(my grandmother)(b. 29 April 1892 London, Ontario- d. 1970 London, Ontario).

The photo is of Hilda May and Maude Maria Beatrice 1918.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Canadian Headstones Photo Project

A new attempt to put digital photos of tombstones online is the Canadian Headstones Photo Project.

The mission (as stated on the webpage) of this project is to capture digital images of  headstones of our ancestors. As decades pass -- many stones are becoming harder, if not impossible, to read the inscriptions they originally contained.

By archiving the images, we can help save these important records and also assist researchers using this valuable resource.
This Headstone Photo Project is a privately sponsored, non-profit, educational site. Success of the Project depends completely upon the activities of many volunteers and other individuals who contribute photographs to the archive.
I looked at the Ontario section and there is nothing there yet. But it will come.
The project can be found at www.canadianheadstones.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada's 142nd Birthday

It's only been celebrated as Canada Day since 1983; but it remains a day for barbecues and beer. Here in southern Ontario it is cold and rainy but the parties are still on.
Although Canada only came into existence in 1867 many of our immigrants such as the Hillman's came to Upper Canada(as it was then known) well before Canada became a nation. Looking back at your family history can be one of the most satisfying educational trips into our country's past.