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Article posted: July 23, 2002

Ryan's Genealogical Notebook
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles

New Publications (Canada, England, & Scotland)

Several new publications from the Ontario Genealogical Society may contain information you will find useful.

The eighth volume in their Strays! series, compiled by Ken Young and David J. Browne, is very welcome.

Strays have nothing to do with dogs or cows, but are people in a household or mentioned in a record who do not bear the same name as the rest of the family (as in a census) or who are from a place outside the one mentioned in the record.

So, for instance, if you have a family of Smiths in the 1891 census, with Mary Morgan, a servant, listed at the end, then Mary is a stray.

OGS takes a wider view for their series, including anyone who has 'strayed' from their place of origin. At that rate, they should have an unlimited number of Strays! volumes ahead of them.

The eighth volume contains 1877 names of migrants. At that rate, the eight together must represent twelve or fourteen thousand people. One of them may be related to you.

A second series from OGS has, confusingly, the same title. It is called Strays! An Index to British Strays in Canada. The second volume in the British series has also just appeared, compiled by the same authors.

Donald Whyte's A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada before Confederation has been a treasure for Scots descendants for fifteen years. Whyte, who lives in Scotland, has collected information about these emigrants from many sources, and often links them with others in Canada. A second volume was published in 1995 and now there is a third one. If you have Scots ancestry in Canada, you will want to look in all three for relations.

Libraries in Canada have been increasingly prickly on the subject of copyright over the past twenty years. It can be difficult for genealogical researchers to know exactly where they stand with the law on this complex subject. OGS' new book, Demystifying Copyright: A Researcher's Guide to Copyright in Canadian Libraries and Archives, by Jean Dryden. Perhaps the chapter which will be most read is "What can be used without seeking authorization."

All of the above titles should be widely available in libraries or can be purchased from the Ontario Genealogical Society at 40 Orchard View Blvd., Suite 102, Toronto M4R 1B9 (editor: or at Global Genealogy).

Two Sides to a Coin

A few days before Easter, one of my colleagues came sadly to our office door with a mutilated book. A researcher in our library had razored out half a page. The information was not even original; it was a typescript transcription of some county records.

Luckily, we had a second copy of the manuscript, so we could copy the page and tip in the missing information. It did make us sad that someone could be so destructive, greedy and selfish.

I was reflecting on this incident, thinking that it would have been a minute's work to copy the data, or to spend a dime on a photocopy. And then I thought of the other side of the coin.

Think of all those wonderful people-people we don't know and have never seen-who saved the records we find so valuable nowadays.

Thank you to the woman who didn't use a page from a church record to start the morning fire. Thank you to the person who didn't hide the old tax records in their attic, but took them to an archives instead. Thank you to the man who saw some records in an auction, bought and transcribed them, and saw to it that the result was in several public institutions.

We could thank an army of thoughtful and kind record savers over the past centuries. Thank them all. I only wish a few of them worked for Statistics Canada.

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