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Gordon Watts Reports
Column published: 02 December 2005
By: Gordon A. Watts   Biography & Archived Articles

In Memorium - William 'Bill' Davidson

It is with great regret we advise of the passing of William "Bill" Davidson, husband of Muriel M. Davidson, Co-chair of the Canada Census Committee, on 22 November 2005. Bill was 92 years of age, and had been resident in Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, since 26 March 2001. He died five days after the celebration of their sixtieth Wedding Anniversary.

We offer our most sincere condolences to Muriel and family. Bill's obituary follows:
    William "Bill" Davidson, Suddenly on Monday November 21, 2005 at Sunnybrook Hospital, Veteran's Wing at the age of 92. Born on October 26, 1913, son of the late James T. and Elizabeth (Rhodenizer) Davidson, of Ecum Secum, Nova Scotia. Loving husband of Muriel Davidson (nee Farquhar) of 60 years. Father of Don, Randy (Charlene) Davidson, Lynden (Michael) Cowan of Brampton. Father of Laurie (Lorna), Geneva (Bruce) Dean, Marie (Jack) Malloy, and Dennis from a previous marriage in Nova Scotia. Grandfather to Diane Davidson, Amy (Davidson) Ransom, Michelle Cowan and Robert Cowan and 12 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren and 1 great, great grandson in Nova Scotia. Bill is survived by sisters Ruth Seeton and Shirley (Jim) Kloepher. Predeceased by siblings Charlotte, Evelyn, Chester, Lloyd, Allister, Leonard. Bill was a Chief Shipwright in the RCNVR, WWII. Bill was active in many sports groups in Brampton, was president of his Carpenter's Union. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 15 for 38 Years, and a member of MacKenzie Branch 414, Woodbridge, at the time of death. Visitation will be held at the SCOTT FUNERAL HOME, Brampton Chapel, 289 Main St N. Brampton from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m on Wednesday November 23rd. Funeral Services to be held on Thursday November 24th, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. in the Scott Funeral Home Chapel. Internment at Brampton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to the Sunnybrook Foundation, Attention Veteran's Comfort Fund, 2075 Bayview Ave. North York, Ontario M4N 3M5. Sign an online book of condolence at www.

In their own words

With Remembrance Day having just passed, it seems appropriate that I have recently become aware of a website designed to let Canadians and their families tell their war-time experiences in their own words and images. The Canadian Letters and Images Project is doing just that with a permanent online archive to preserve Canada's wartime correspondence, photographs, and other personal materials, from the battlefront and from the homefront. The story told of Canadians at War has frequently been one of great battles and great individuals. The stories of 'ordinary' Canadians, and the richness of their wartime experience, is all too frequently ignored or forgotten.

The Canadian Letters and Images Project was initiated in August 2000 by the Department of History at Malaspina University College in Nanaimo, British Columbia. In November 2003 the History Department at The University of Western Ontario became a partner in the project. The partnership between Malaspina and Western has ensured that more material can made available to the public through the Project web site.

The objective of the Canadian Letters and Images Project is to let Canadians tell their personal wartime stories in their own words and images. To do this the project seeks contributions of letters, diaries, photographs and other personal materials, from the battlefront and from the homefront. They have created a website where Canadians can share with one another the more personal side of a country at war.

In describing the project they state:
    "It is our hope that Canadians can share with one another the more personal side of a country at war. Such a collection allows us to better appreciate the struggles, anguish and joy, of Canada during wartime. It will also stand as a tribute to all Canadians, past and present, who have in any manner contributed to Canada's wartime efforts. We believe it is important to collect and recreate the personal side of the wartime experience as soon as possible, before such materials are forever lost or destroyed. Each and every piece of correspondence, every photograph, or any other item connected to Canadians during wartime, is a valuable artifact linking us to our past. While one letter or photograph may by itself seem insignificant, in combination with the multitude of other materials found in the Project those single items can help to tell a remarkable story of the unyielding spirit of a country at war.

    The Canadian Letters and Images Project is an online educational resource of the Canadian war experience freely available to students, scholars, and the general public. We do not edit correspondence or select portions of collections, but include if at all possible all materials submitted to us. Our place is not to judge the historic merit of one person's experiences over those of another; we instead let those words and images from the past tell their own story.

    In order to make the materials in the project available, The Canadian Letters and Images Project works closely with individuals across the country and elsewhere. Most of the materials found in this Project come from private families who have generously shared those materials with us. As an electronic archive we do not keep any of the materials, but borrow them for copying and archival scanning before returning them to the lending family. All incoming materials as of July 1, 2003 are scanned not only as jpegs for the web site but also scanned as high resolution tiffs for future preservation."
The Canadian Letters and Images Project is a non-profit project and it is my understanding that it receives no direct government funding - it is supported solely by contributions.

Contributions can be made payable to "The Malaspina Foundation/Letters and Images Project". The Malaspina Foundation is a registered charitable organization and tax receipts will be issued for all donations.

To view the collections, or for more information on how to contribute materials or to aid the project financially, visit their website at:

Online Census interest remains high

I recently received some statistics from Library and Archives Canada relating to number of visits to the online Census databases. As with any new database placed online, the number of visits tapers off after an initial flurry. As can be seen from the following charts however, interest in using the online Census databases remains high.

The numbers in the following charts may at first glance appear lower than expected. Unlike many statistics that show numbers of 'page hits', which could result in numbers in the millions, the statistics provided by LAC show 'numbers of visits'. In the numbers shown here a visit includes all the activity of one visitor's browser to a web site, within certain time constraints. A visit is a series of page views, beginning when a visitor's browser requests the first page from the server, and ending when the visitor leaves the site or remains idle beyond the idle-time limit. A 'visit' could therefore include a great many 'page hits', making the numbers shown here lower than might have been expected.

For the second chart, detailing visits for the first few days after launch for the Census years, the figures for 1901 and 1906 were compiled by the same version of the statistical program and will be directly comparable. The figures for the 1911 Census were compiled by an updated version of the statistical program and may not be directly comparable with the figures for the 1901 and 1906 Censuses.

Online Census of Canada -- Monthly Visits
National, 1901
Northwest Provinces, 1906
National, 1911
April 2005
29,222 visits
5,423 visits
May 2005
30,363 visits
5,634 visits
June 2005
24,223 visits
4,816 visits
July 2005
25,150 visits
5,046 visits
July 25 - 31
63,662 visits
August 2005
16,940 visits
2,891 visits
109,066 visits
Sept 1-14, 2005
9,895 visits
1,092 visits
25,889 visits

Online Census of Canada -- Opening Visits
National, 1901
Release May 2002
Northwest Provinces, 1906
Release 24 January 2003
National, 1911
Release 21 July 2005
May 27 - 1,499 visits
January 24 - 2,832 visits
July 25 - 16,757 visits
May 28 - 2,474 visits
January 25- 6,458 visits
July 26 - 8,707 visits
May 29 - 2,615 visits
January 26 - 4,713 visits
July 27 - 7,336 visits
May 30 - 2,432 visits
January 27 - 3,792 visits
JJuly 28 - 6,098 visits
May 31 - 6,928 visits
July 29 - 5,187 visits

1911 Census microfilm now available

Many who may not have the capability or desire to access and browse the online Census records provided by LAC have been awaiting information about the availability of microfilm for records of the 1911 Census of Canada.

Microfilm is now available for inter-library loan, or for purchase by libraries, genealogical societies, or others. Information on how to do this is now available on the LAC website. For your information I have extracted the following from their website.

1911 Census of Canada -- Microfilm Numbers
District numbers
Microfilm reel numbers
Number of reels
Alberta 1 to 7 T-20326 to
British Columbia 8 to 14 T-20333 to
Manitoba 15 to 24 T-20340 to
New Brunswick 25 to 36 T-20349 to
Nova Scotia 37 to 53 T-20355 to
Ontario 54 to 138 T-20364 to
Prince Edward Island 139 to 141 T-20412 to
Quebec 142 to 206 T-20414 to
Saskatchewan 207 to 216 T-20450 to
Yukon and Northwest Territories 217 and 218 T-20459 to

Information on how to purchase microfilm is available at

Information on how to borrow microfilm is available at:

NY Eastern District naturalization records index

The Italian Genealogical Group has recently placed on their website an Index of US Naturalization records issued between 1865 and 1956 by the Eastern District Courts of New York. The index includes records from Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

It contains over 600,000 records. This index is a "work in progress" and will be updated from time to time. For further information, and to search the Eastern District Court of NY Naturalization Database visit: Click on their 'databases' link for other information and sources of interest.

Until next time.

Gordon A. Watts

Your comments regarding this newsletter, and suggestions for future articles are welcome. Click here to send me a message with a subject line of "Gordon Watts Reports".

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