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Gordon Watts Reports
Column published: 08 October 2005
By: Gordon A. Watts   Biography & Archived Articles

Greetings Readers

Gordon A. Watts No more 'Missing Links'

Genealogy researchers in Atlantic Canada, and those having family connections there will be saddened to learn that Sandra Devlin, writer of 'Missing Links', has published her last column. Sandra has been diagnosed with terminal Cancer, and its effects have forced her to give up her syndicated column.

For many years, Sandra wrote a weekly column that was published in newspapers in Atlantic Canada. Sandra successfully turned her personal fixation with genealogy into her livelihood. After a 25-year career as a daily newspaper reporter, photographer, editor and managing editor in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Southern and Northern Ontario, followed by a three-year stint as a community college journalism instructor in P.E.I., Sandra decided in 1996 to launch a full-time freelance journalist career from her home office.

A cornerstone of this enterprise was her self-syndicated, weekly genealogy column launched and published over nine years in upwards of 17 newspapers in the Atlantic Provinces. Sandra also contributed many articles to the online Global Gazette.

Among awards in other categories of her writing, Sandra accepted the first-place Award of Excellence in Genealogy-Column Writing on the Internet, presented by the highly respected Council of Genealogy Columnists in May 2000, in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2002 Sandra received an Excellence in Writing Award (first place in the Newspaper Columns category) from the prestigious International Society of Family History Writers and Editors in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In advising editors that she would be unable to continue writing her columns she stated:
    Sandra Devlin "I will miss my regular contact with a fabulously loyal readership. I treasure the friendships I have made over the nine years that Missing Links has been published in more than a dozen Atlantic Canadian newspapers. I will very much miss being a part of connecting family researchers and helping them fill in the gaps in their family tree."
I never had the pleasure to meet Sandra in person, but on occasion corresponded with her during our campaign to regain public access to Historic Census records in Canada. Sandra supported our effort in that direction, and wrote about it in her column. 'Missing Links' was one of the first - if not the only - mainstream newspaper column to include several articles written about the potential destruction of Post-1901 Census records, and all of the ramifications thereof.

As much as is possible under the circumstances, we wish Sandra well. She, and her column, will be missed. Sandra's 'Missing Links' column may be gone, but it will be a long time - if ever - before it is forgotten.

[Sandra Devlin's biography and archived articles as they appear in The Global Gazette.]

Halifax Daily News seeks genealogy writer

Do you have aspirations to be a genealogy writer? Kim Schimmel, Sunday editor of the Halifax Daily News, wishes to continue publishing a genealogy column, and is seeking someone to take over where Sandra Devlin left off.

They would prefer someone who lives in Halifax, and who is willing to "write a column for basically peanuts". If you feel you qualify, contact Kim at .

1911 Census of Canada - Column 18

Those, like myself, who have been trying to puzzle out the number codes overwritten in Column 18 of the 1911 Canadian Census will be happy to know that the Library and Archives website has just been updated with information relating to those codes. A fuller explanation of the three parts of the codes is now included in the Help files relating to the 1911 Census, and a link is provided to a PDF file detailing the occupation codes.

The following information was extracted from the updated Help section of the 1911 Census at LAC.

For the first time in 1911, information taken for the census was compiled by mechanical appliances. Perforated cards were used to record more accurately information on occupations, using codes. However, it seems that it was not a great success and the system was changed in 1921.

The use of this code is reflected in column 18. Genealogists will see numbers separated by hyphens. Example: 6-0-32, 6-6-32 or 6-9-32.

The numbers are from the Index to Occupations based on the results of the Fourth census of Canada (1901). (Index to Occupations. Ottawa, Census and Statistics Office, 1911, 230 p. AMICUS : 7693172). This publication gives a list of the codes; only a few copies are available in libraries throughout Canada. The following explanations were taken from this publication.

The first part of the code refers to one of the general main divisions of occupations or industries as follows:
    0     Agriculture
    1     Building trades
    2     Domestic and personal service
    3     Civil and municipal service
    4     Fisheries and hunting
    5     Forestry and lumbering
    6     Manufactures - mechanical and textiles
    7     Manufactures - Food and clothing
    8     Mining
    9     Professional pursuits
    10    Trade and Merchandising
    11    Transportation
The second part of the code refers to the class of worker
    0     Self-employed or owner of the business
    1     Managers, assistant managers
    2     Superintendents, assistant superintendents, supervisors
    3     Foremen, bosses, gang bosses, paymasters, treasurers
    4     Agents, brokers, commission men
    5     Inspectors, weighers, graders
    6     Employees, workers, operators, skilled workers
    7     Clerks, companions, timekeepers
    8     Apprentices, helpers, learners, assistants
    9     Laborers, unskilled, messengers, teamsters
Note that a special code was created for the third category, Civil and municipal government, to include military ranks.
    0     --
    1     Admirals, generals, surveyors etc.
    2     Captains, colonels, postmasters, teachers, deputies, assessors, sheriffs,
           librarians, assistants, chief clerks, supervisors
    3     Lieutenants, police inspectors, paymasters, collectors, treasurers,
          auditors, marshals etc.
    4     Sergeants, corporals, bandsmen, quartermasters etc.
    5     Inspectors, scalers, gaugers, measurers, roundsmen, keepers, appraisers etc.
    6     Employees, operators, privates, marines, sailors, policemen,, letter carriers etc.
    7     Bookkeepers, clerks, stenographers, secretaries, court stenographers etc.
    8     Helpers, assistants, attendants etc.
    9     Laborers, messengers, watchmen etc.
The third part of the code refers to the trade. For each category, a list of trades was created using the numbers 00 to 99. On the original census returns, take note of the first and third parts of the code then consult the chart (PDF format 34 Kb) to obtain the meaning of the code.

Advancing your genealogical education

Whether you are someone just starting to find out about your immediate family, someone who has for years been actively researching extended family lines, or someone who makes their living by conducting research for others, there is a learning process involved. Many learn things the hard way, by osmosis or by blundering through volumes of information, hoping to find some little tidbit that might relate to their area of interest.

One of the simplest methods of enhancing your genealogical education is to join your local genealogy or historical society. Many of these groups have very knowledgeable individuals who freely pass on their knowledge by conducting classes during, or after their membership meetings. Such classes may help to focus your research so that you stand a better chance of finding information you seek. Many of these groups conduct annual seminars whereby a number of local or visiting 'experts' in a number of fields conduct introductory classes in their field of expertise. There may, or may not, be a charge to attend these functions.

Another good way of getting started is to visit a local Family History Centre of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Many major urban centres have one or more of these. When first visiting Family History Centres the staffs of volunteers are only too happy to give a tour of their facilities, explaining what they have in their library and how it can help in your research. On my first visit to the FHC in Burnaby, British Columbia, I was invited to view a short video presentation on how to get started on my family research. This visit was a number of years ago, and their video presentation may by this time have been updated to take in consideration the considerable technological change that has taken place since then.

Of course, the best source when you are first starting out is to gather as much information as you can from living relatives.

Those seeking a more formal education in genealogical research have a number of choices. One such choice that I have recently become aware of is that of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. The NIGS has joined forces with the Professional Learning Centre, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto to produce a series of web-based courses for both family historians and professional genealogists. Courses vary in length, but most last six to eight weeks. Courses may be taken for one's own enjoyment, or to earn credits towards obtaining a Certificate in Genealogical Studies from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Information Studies, Professional Learning Centre and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

Of course, not having taken any of the courses, and knowing about them only by what I have seen on the Internet, it is not possible for me to personally endorse their curriculum. However, the list of courses offered is impressive, and clicking on one of the course links will provide a description of the course, including prerequisites, credits to be received, homework and assignment procedures, fees and course leaders.

Association of Professional Genealogists

Those who have taken pains to become educated in genealogical research, or those seeking to employ a professional genealogist, may be interested in checking out the Association of Professional Genealogists. Information extracted from their website indicates that the APG was registered on 5 February 1979, in the state of Utah, as an international non-profit, independent organization whose principal purpose is to support professional genealogists in all phases of their work: from the amateur genealogist wishing to turn knowledge and skill into a vocation, to the experienced professional seeking to exchange ideas with colleagues and to upgrade the profession as a whole. The association also seeks to protect the interest of those engaging in the services of the professional. The objectives of the Association are:
  • To promote international awareness of, and interest in, professional genealogical services,
  • To promote professional standards in genealogical research, writing and speaking,
  • To engage in activities which improve access, facilitate research and preserve records used in the fields of genealogy and local history,
  • To promote awareness of activities and/or laws which may affect genealogical and historical research,
  • To educate the membership and public through publications and lectures, and
  • To provide support for those engaged in genealogical pursuits as a business.
The APG currently has two local chapters in Canada. One in Rootsweb .com/~onapg/" target="_blank"> Ontario, and one on Vancouver Island.

Brian W. Hutchison Genealogical Scholarship

The Alberta Family Histories Society is pleased to announce the availability of the Brian W. Hutchison Genealogical Scholarship of up to $500 to be awarded to a Canadian resident, towards the cost of tuition and books, for the recipient to study the field of genealogy and family history in a recognized educational or accreditation program.

The annual Brian W. Hutchison Scholarship is funded by an endowment to the Alberta Family Histories Society from Brian W. Hutchison, CG, FSA (Scot), principal of GEN-FIND Research Associates, Inc.. Mr Hutchison is a long time member of the Alberta Family Histories Society. It is Mr. Hutchison's wish to encourage Canadians to pursue formal study of genealogical analysis, research, evaluation, and documentation methodologies and standards.

The Brian W. Hutchison Genealogical Scholarship for 2005 has been awarded to Ms Tara Shymanski of Calgary. Ms Shymanski has received a grant of $500 to further her studies at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto.

The next Scholarship will be awarded in the Spring 2006. Deadline for applications is 31 December 2005. Prospective applicants are to submit applications to an evaluation committee, which will judge the merits of each application and make a single award annually. In the event no applicant is deemed to qualify, that year's award will be held over for the future. The application will consist of a short essay, a four generation pedigree and the applicant's plan of study. The applicant's study plan shall indicate the detailed costs for tuition and text books to which the scholarship will be applied. There are no age limits for applicants.

The pedigree is to document a single line of family ancestry for four generations prior to 1900 and to be supported by source documentation and notes. The accompanying essay is to discuss one type of genealogical record, its benefits and limitations, how it can be accessed and how it has been used in the candidate's pedigree. The essay should be approximately 1000 words in length. The chosen applicant's essay may be published in the Chinook quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society.

Further information can be found at: or by writing to: Alberta Family Histories Society 712 -16 Avenue N.W., Calgary AB T2M OJ8 Attention: Scholarship Committee.

From Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the launch of Tales from the Vault!: Canadian Pulp Fiction, 1940-1952. Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage through its Canadian Culture Online initiative, the Tales from the Vault! virtual exhibition presents selections from Library and Archives Canada's collection of rare pulp magazines from the 1940s and 1950s. This virtual exhibition includes covers, selected advertisements, text, excerpts, and full-length issues. You are invited to visit the site at:

Library and Archives Canada, in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Department of Justice Canada, is pleased to announce the launch of By Executive Decree, a project funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage through its Canadian Culture Online initiative. Featuring historical documents of the Privy Council Office, together with photographs, maps and documentary art, this Web exhibition looks at Canadian history through the operations of the Executive Branch of government. The exhibition is complemented by a database of orders-in-council from the years 1867 to 1890. You are invited to visit the site at

The Framing Canada: A Photographic Memory virtual exhibition tells the fascinating and ever-changing story of how Canadians see themselves and the world in which they live. The narrative begins with the origins of photography in the 1840s and spans to the mid-twentieth century.

Approximately 20,000 images from various public and private photographic collections of Library and Archives Canada have been digitized and are available online in a searchable database. Thematic Essays, a Send a Postcard feature, and a Glossary will be added to this exhibition in the next few months. Please visit Framing Canada: A Photographic Memory at:

Until next time.

Gordon A. Watts,

Canadian Genealogy & History Resources from Global Genealogy:

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