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Gordon Watts Reports
Column published: 09 May 2008
By: Gordon A. Watts   Biography & Archived Articles

Gordon A. Watts
Topics in this column include:
  • On a personal note
  • Nova Scotia vital records
  • Writing a narrative family history
  • Renfrew County grave markers online
  • 1911 Dublin city/county Census on line
  • Yesterdays Journey updated

Scroll down this page to read the complete articles...

On a personal note

I started writing my column in 1999, initially to report on progress of our extended campaign to regain public access to Historic Census records. Since the successful (?) conclusion of that campaign the name of the column, and its purpose, both changed. The name of the column is now 'Gordon Watts Reports', and its purpose has changed to provide news, tips and other information aimed at assisting those who have an interest in genealogy and/or history.

Over the life of the column I have occasionally included articles 'on a personal note'. This is one of those 'occasions'. Rather than providing assistance to others in this article, I seek your assistance instead.

My son Bruce, and his fiancé Jennifer are one of four couples who are competing in a contest to see which of them will get to be married 'on air' on 3 October this year. The contest is being hosted by Shine FM (a radio station in Calgary). The winners get their wedding paid for, including a honeymoon trip, rings, cake, reception, and a number of other prizes.

I hope that you will help me in making the start of Bruce and Jennifer's life together a memorable one. You can do so by going to the website at

Scroll down to the second profile. Cast your vote for them by clicking either on their names (i.e. Jennifer & Bruce) at the start of the profile, or on their picture that appears part way down on the left of the profile.

You can cast a vote for Jennifer & Bruce once each day until the contest ends at 12:00 am on 18 May.

I thank you all in advance for helping Jennifer and Bruce (hopefully) win this contest and a dream wedding. Your assistance will be gratefully appreciated.


Nova Scotia vital records

Lauren Oostveen, Communications Officer of Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management has announced new content and corrections on the NS Historical Vital Statistics Website.

The upgrade includes 25,000 newly released records -- marriage registrations for 1931 and 1932, and death registrations for 1956 and 1957 - plus some 75,000 adjustments to content already online. The latter include corrections reported by many of users over the past months, plus assorted other small 'fixes' that they have been working on since summer 2007.

Lauren states "We believe you'll find lots to explore in this expanded content, and in the many small repairs which previously may have kept you from the information you hoped to find."

Work is proceeding in the final stages of preparing 95,000 'delayed' birth registrations filed by Nova Scotians born as early as 1836, up to and including 1907. It is anticipated the launching of these records - fully indexed and digitized - will take place within the next month. In the meantime, visit to explore the added content, and continue building your family's history.

Writing a narrative family history

Want to learn how to turn your family research into readable stories. The Ontario Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists (OCAPG) has announced the presentation of "Writing A Narrative Family History," a day-long seminar with John Colletta, popular speaker, educator and author.

A faculty member of the prestigious Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (Samford University, Alabama) and Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, John Colletta has planned the day around all the facets of good writing and good storytelling. One of John's own family accounts, Only A Few Bones, is a model for narrative writing but he is also known for They Came In Ships and Finding Italian Roots.

Co-sponsored by the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library, this is a day that will motivate and inspire your own family history writing: Saturday 27 September 2008 at the North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto.

Visit the OCAPG website at for full details of the day's schedule, how to register, information regarding book sales, directions to the event and nearby accommodations for out-of-towners.

Renfrew County grave markers online

With the addition of The Holy Trinity Anglican Cemetery in the City of Pembroke, Murray Pletsch reports that all of the public cemeteries in Renfrew County, Ontario, have now been completely photographed and are searchable online. Murray states that this major achievement was only possible with the kind and tireless help he received from Diane Dillon over the last 3 or 4 years.

To date, all grave markers in all public cemeteries in RENFREW COUNTY, NIPISSING DISTRICT and PARRY SOUND DISTRICT have been photographed and are online. Murray's volunteers continue to photograph grave markers from other areas as well.

As he learns about them, Murray intends to add Renfrew County private cemeteries and unique burial grounds. He asks to be advised of any such locations that have not been photographed. You can contact him at

You can visit Murray's websites at the following URLs. Work is ongoing from wonderful volunteers in many other regions of Ontario.

1911 Dublin city/county Census on line

The 1911 Dublin city/county Census is now on line thru the Irish National Archives. It can be searched by name, or by place so that you can find information about your ancestors' neighbors, or get information about the place they lived in.

The household returns and ancillary records for the censuses of Ireland of 1901 and 1911 represent an extremely valuable part of the Irish national heritage. A resource for genealogists, local historians and other scholars, it has not as yet been developed to its fullest potential. There is an estimated 70 million people of Irish extraction in all parts of the globe, and many of these have an interest in their family and local history. The digitisation of the equivalent records for England, Wales and Scotland has proved hugely popular with users, as has the digitisation of Canadian and United States census records.

The National Archives of Ireland has established a research partnership with Library and Archives Canada to facilitate digitisation, indexing and contextualisation of Irish 1901 and 1911 census records. Library and Archives Canada have a world-wide reputation in the field of document digitisation, and have already successfully digitised the Canadian census returns 1901, 1906 and 1911. As a fellow national archival institution, Library and Archives Canada shares Irish values in relation to preservation of, and access to, our documented heritage.

The Irish Census records may be accessed at

The home page of the Irish National Archives is located at

Yesterdays Journey updated

Some time ago, in my column of 10 August 2006, I included an article titled 'Yesterdays Journey … Derbyshire, England and afar'. In that article I wrote about the many documents included on a website that recorded the names of people who had dealings with various events and Officials, and the paperwork involved. That paperwork included arrest warrants, indenture papers, papers naming fathers of illegitimate children, wills, and many more varied documents.

Sidebars include links to Apprentice Records, Bastardy Papers, Removal Orders, Rogues and Vagabonds, Settlement Certificates, Settlement Examinations, Wills and Administrations, and more.

I have recently been advised that since publishing my earlier article, the website has grown and been updated on a regular basis with many different categories. Although Derbyshire based growth has meant many more references to places throughout the UK and beyond. If anyone has ancestors in the UK they may just find some of them "hiding" here.

If you visited this website before, it might be worthwhile to revisit it now.

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".

To view back issues of Gordon Watt's columns, visit Gordon's biography page where all of his archives articles are available.

Canadian Genealogy & History Resources from Global Genealogy:

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
(Pontiac County, Quebec)

The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)