All posts by Gail Dever

Gail Dever is a Montreal-based genealogist and blogger and a webmaster for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

GenWebCanada updates Quebec cemetery listings

Every morning, I read Elizabeth Lapointe’s Genealogy Canada blog, and she never disappoints. Today, she announced that GenWebCanada has updated several cemeteries in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Read the entire blog post here.

The cemeteries in Quebec are:

Huntingdon County

Hillside Cemetery
Labelle County
Chut-St-Philippe Cemetery
Kiamika Cemetery
Lac Saguay Cemetery
Lac St-Paul
Lac Saguay Cemetery
Lac St-Paul Cemetery
Ste-Anne-du-Lac Cemetery
Val Barrette Cemetery
Gatineau County
East Templeton Cemetery
St Raphael Cemetery
Papineau County
Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette Cemetery

RootsTech announces free online conference presentation schedule

Great news! RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 6-8, 2014, announced today that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in person a sample of this year’s conference content. Click here to view the online broadcast schedule. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at Here is the link to download RootsTech syllabus materials. Get on it as soon as possible because, according to Amy Coffin in her blog, The We Tree Genealogy, these are available for a limited time.The syllabus material is already Note the times listed are in Mountain Time.


Watching live presentations from home is an easy, relaxing, and no-cost way to learn about genealogy and improve your research skills. The list of speakers this year includes several rock stars, such as Lisa Louise Cooke, Lisa Alzo, Josh Taylor, and Randy Whited.

So, pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a notebook, watch, and learn.

Tuesday’s tip

Brigham Young University in Utah offers several free online genealogy courses, including one about France. While this course is not for credit, it is a great way to learn something new at no cost. To review the lessons, you must first enroll online. You will then work at your own speed and choose the time and place. When you have completed the course, you will have learned how to identify the place of origin of your ancestors, explained why you must analyze your information, and discussed some French emigration groups and sources to help you find your French ancestor’s place of origin.

A list of courses, including the French course, is available on BYU’s Independent Study web page.

Webinars this week

Almost every week Legacy Family Tree offers free webinars (online seminars). The next two appear especially interesting.

Wednesday, January 22, 2 PM (Eastern): Irish Research 101: Learning the Research Process with Judith Eccles Wight.

Wednesday, January 29, 2 PM (Eastern): Ten Reasons Your Ancestor was in Canada with Kathryn Lake Hogan.

You must register to watch the live presentation. Or you may watch the archived version at your leisure without registering during the following six or seven days. A complete list of webinars, descriptions, and registration are available at Legacy Family Tree.

Discovery Channel airs new series about Yukon gold rush

On Monday, January 20 at 9 PM (ET and PT), the Discovery Channel in Canada will broadcast a new three-part series, Klondike, about the Yukon gold rush in the late 1890s. Parts two and three will air on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 21 and 22. The series is based on Charlotte Gray’s book, Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike.  This is a rare opportunity to see part of Canada’s history on the small screen.

As genealogists, we often try to picture how our ancestors lived. While admittedly, TV and movies may not provide the most accurate portrayal of the time, they can still provide a sense of how people dressed and acted. As far as I know, none of my Canadian ancestors ventured to the wilds of the Yukon Territory. During the Klondike period, most of them were living in Montreal and Toronto. Nevertheless, I expect my ancestors were aware of the gold rush and perhaps some of them even dreamt of taking part.

Klondike Street Scene

The National Archives asks for your help

Any opportunity to help other genealogists and researchers is a good one, and The National Archives in Great Britain announced an interesting project this week.

The National Archives (TNA) has spent the past three years digitising WWI unit war diaries and now they are looking for volunteers. These diaries are among the most popular records at TNA.

With this project, TNA hopes to create new Citizen Historians, working together to make previously inaccessible information available to academics, researchers and family historians worldwide, leaving a lasting legacy for the centenary of the First World War. They need volunteers who can spend an hour of their time — or more — to read and tag a few diary pages.

Earlier this week, TNA published the first batch of diaries online as part of First World War 100. You can search and download more than 300,000 diary pages of the first three cavalry divisions and the first seven infantry divisions to arrive on the Western Front. By the end of this year, TNA will have published the rest of the diaries that they have digitised, around 1.5 million pages in total, opening up an already popular record series to historians worldwide.

To learn more about the project and how you can get involved, visit The National Archives Blog. Thanks to Dick Eastman who brought this story to our attention in his eNewsletter article, Operation War Diary: A Crowd Crowdsourcing Project.

Friday factoid

Between 1840 and 1930, about 900,000 French Canadians emigrated to the United States.

A paper written in 1999 by professors at the Université de Montréal and Marianapolis College explains why so many French Canadians left Canada and it shows where they settled in New England in 1880 and 1930. “According to the 1980 American census, 13.6 million Americans claimed to have French ancestors. While a certain number of these people may be of French, Belgian, Swiss, Cajun or Huguenot ancestry, it is certain that a large proportion would have ancestors who emigrated from French Canada or Acadia during the 19th and 20th centuries.” To learn more, read French Canadian Emigration to the United States 1840-1930 by Damien-Claude Bélanger and Claude Bélanger.

Genealogy in newspapers

At the Quebec Family History Society’s (QFHS) Brick Wall Solutions special interest group meeting last night, member Geneviève Rosseel led the meeting and made a terrific presentation about how to use newspapers to search for ancestors. Geneviève’s presentation included a handout she had put together that listed webinars, books, magazines, preservation techniques, Society resources, and 12 pages of newspaper websites.

The Brick Wall Solutions group, also known as the Brickers, is one of four special interest groups that QFHS members have formed where like-minded people get together to share ideas and solutions. The Brickers group is the largest and an excellent example of how genealogists work together to learn from each other. Each month, a member volunteers to lead a meeting and talk on one topic. Topics range from creating a research log to genealogical proof standards to mind mapping.

The Society’s other special interest groups are Family History Writing, the French Connection, and Newfoundland and Labrador Research Interest. More information is available on the Society’s website.

Here are some of Geneviève’s favourite websites:

1. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec for Quebec newspapers –

2. Map of 1690-2011 US Newspapers –

3. Newspapers around the world –

4. WorldCat lists newspapers held in libraries around the world –

Kitchener library seeks virtual volunteers for WWI project

The Kitchener Public Library in Ontario is looking for your help. In honour of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, the library’s staff has created soldier information cards about the many courageous men and women of the province’s Waterloo County who served Canada in the First and Second World Wars. These cards were created during and shortly after each war and were compiled using newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, and information contributed by soldiers and their families.

Kitchener Public Library02

The library needs virtual volunteers to transcribe the content of the soldier card sets, making them searchable on the library’s online photograph site. The transcription process will involve copying the information on the soldier card into a text (.txt) file and sending the finished transcription back to staff for upload. If you are interested in volunteering for this project, contact the library at or telephone 519-743-0271, ext. 275. Read more about the project on the library’s website.

Perhaps genealogy societies should approach their local library to find out if they hold treasures that need to be digitized and posted online. This would be an excellent opportunity to support a library, create a new collaboration, and uncover genealogy gems.