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Article posted: February 24, 1999

LDS Family History Library WebSite in 1999
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles

Rumours are flying about the possibility that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City might be starting a website.

It's true. Curt Witcher, a director of GENTECH, attended their annual conference recently in Utah and came back with details about this long-awaited site. He shared them with me.

The site will begin sometime in the second quarter of this year. Its name will be FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Services. FamilySearch is the copyright name of their CD-ROM genealogical indexes. This might make you think that these indexes will be available at the site, but this is not so.

I know that many people will be disappointed that the International Genealogical Index and Ancestry File will not be included initially on the site. However, they can still be seen at the various family history centers (including the ones in Kitchener, Guelph and Owen Sound).

The online site will have the Family History Library Catalog. This is not the same as the version at the family history centers. It will be considerably enhanced. As well as author, title and LDS film number, it will include place names, surnames, keywords and subjects, all in searchable fields. This means that for the first time, researchers will be able to use the Family History Library catalog in the same way they use online library catalogs elsewhere (in public or academic libraries). The flexibility of the catalog will mean that we can find more books and films, more easily.

More details will be available after the first of March, including the address for the website. I will be letting everyone know the details once they are made public.

The big question for most people who live far from Salt Lake (or even far from a branch family history center) is: when will the other FamilySearch options be included on the website. No decisions have been made about this yet.

As I mentioned in my last column, the Genealogical Society of Utah, the family history arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has now begun a publications program selling sets of CD-ROMs on particular topics. I mentioned a six-disk set of British vital records indexes. Witcher informs me there are also sets of Australian Vital Records (price US$5.00) and United States Vital Records (price US$15.00). At the moment I am unsure exactly what is on these.

Other projected series to be made available soon are vital records sets for Continental Europe, Latin America and Scandinavia, Ellis Island immigration records, the 1880 U.S. census and the 1881 British census (scheduled for summer 1999). The latter will be grouped in regions, but there will also be a nation-wide index.

A sharp-eyed reader of this column noted that the toll-free number given last time for the LDS publications office in Salt Lake does not work from Canada. Darryl Bonk of the local family history center says that the Canada Order Desk is at 1-800-453-3860, extension 2031. Try this instead.

Witcher had many useful things to say about the GENTECH conference also. This organization deals entirely with genealogy and technology, which is a burgeoning field.

Among other things, he discovered that AT&T, the telephone giant, did a survey recently which discovered that 99% of people who were asked wanted to do genealogy. About a third of them actually did so. Virtually everyone who did family history research uses the internet in some way. These are dazzling figures.

In future columns, I will give you more news from GENTECH about new technological developments in the world of family history.

Genealogy In Ottawa

The two genealogical societies in Ottawa are both making offers which might interest you.

Ottawa Branch - Ontario Genealogical Society
Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is having its annual seminar, Gene-O-Rama on 26-27 March at the Nepean City Hall, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean. This conference is now in its 18th year.

The keynote lecture will be given by Louise St-Denis of Toronto, who will describe how to create a family video which will delight future generations, as well as instruct them in the family's background. That is on the Friday evening.

On Saturday there is a full day of lectures on Ontario newspapers, the 1851 census, genealogy on the internet and women ancestors. The speaker on the internet is Global's own Rick Roberts, who has made a name for himself speaking on this topic across Canada.

The lecture on Ontario newspapers will talk about how to discover what paper your ancestors may have read, where to find it now and whether it may have been indexed. The women's talk is on finding maiden names when you think you have exhausted all the possibilities. You will be surprised how many sources there can be. I will be giving both of these latter talks myself.

In addition to the speakers, a wide variety of booksellers will be there with their wares, including several local historical societies from eastern Ontario, the Quebec Family History Society and Global Genealogy & History Store.

Registration before 5 March is $25 (later, $30). For a brochure, call 613-824-1942.

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is offering a 'bookmarks diskette'. This researcher's aid is a directory of internet sites which will be of use to genealogists with British interests. The diskette has 3200 website addresses in the British Isles, North America, Australia and New Zealand. This is the first edition, and the plan is to update it annually. It is offered at the very low price of $10 including shipping and handling.

Send your cheques to BIFHSGO, Box 38026, Ottawa ON K2C 1N0.

British Vital Records Index On 6 CD-ROMs

On a similar note, Darryl Bonk of the Latter-day Saints Family History Center in Kitchener advises that they are offering a British vital records index, 6 CD-ROMs for US$15 plus shipping. Most LDS centers have copies for use there, but if you would like one at home, call 1-800-537-3971 and ask for item #59028. The operator there will be able to provide details of what is on the disks.

British 1851 Census, 'Missing Parishes" Found

If you have Lancashire interests, an announcement from the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society might surprise you. Certain parishes which are not on the official version of the 1851 census, and listed as 'missing', have now been transcribed. They were flood damaged and regarded as unfilmable. The Society accessed the original sheets at the PRO and have produced a microfiche transcription. The parishes in question are Deansgate, Chorlton on Medlock, Salford-Greengate, Hulme, Ashton under Lyne, Salford (Regent Road), Oldham below Town and St. George's subdistrict. This is exciting news and reinforces every genealogist's conviction that somehow things will turn up eventually.

The same society has recently produced a transcription of Prestwich & Blackley as well as many others in its backlist.

For details write to the society enclosing SAE or IRC to the Society at Clayton House, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester, England M1 2AQ

Canadian Border Entry Lists 1908-1918: Yukon and British Columbia

Traces, the small publisher in Calgary with wide-spread interests, has had a low profile in the past couple of years. However, Mary Trace tells me that some of her books are still available.

Canadian Border Entry Lists 1908-1918: Yukon and British Columbia gives details about people who came into Canada on the west coast. Canadian Passengers Inward Bound, 1856-1858 includes ships' passenger lists, newspaper sailing reports and other more obscure places.

Adjoining Parishes of Glamorgan South Wales is a listing of all parishes in the county, with descriptions of their neighbours. The idea of this kind of listing, which helps researchers find their ancestors who went to nearby parishes for their baptizing and burying, is a growing one in British genealogy. I have seen a number of similar publications in recent English magazines.


One of the reason for doing genealogy is to see how our ancestors lived. The most dramatic experience was emigrating across the ocean, but how much do we know about what it was like? It would be terrific to hear an actual emigrant describe the trip.

Clearing A Road In Early Upper Canada Across the Waters: Ontario Immigrants' Experiences, 1820-1850
by Frances Hoffman and Ryan Taylor gathers together selections from firsthand accounts so that today's readers can discover what it meant to be a pioneer in Ontario. From the day they decided to strike off across the Atlantic to the first harvest in their own clearing, the settlers will tell you about the seasickness, the quarantine station, the mosquitoes--the fish you could scoop out of streams with your bare hands, the pride of owning your own land and the joys of helping one another build a house.

Hoffman's and Taylor's previous book, Much to be Done, gave diarists from the Victorian era the chance to tell us about their lives. Their new book offers the same opportunity to those diarists' parents and grandparents.

Across the Waters: Ontario Immigrants' Experiences, 1820-1850 will be published in March 1999 ( originally planned for May '99) by Global Heritage Press in softcover and hard cover (library binding) versions. Reserve your copy today!.

Books By Ryan Taylor

Across The Waters, Ontario Immigrants Experiences 1820 - 1850 - by Frances Hoffman & Ryan Taylor, 1999. Riveting first-hand accounts of the immigration and settlement experience, taken from the diaries and letters of 150 immigrants.

Routes To Roots, The Best of Ryan Taylor's columns from the Kitchener Waterloo Record, by Ryan Taylor 1997

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
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The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)