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Net Notes May 2007
Web sites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Early Canadiana Online

Of course, local history books are not the only place your ancestor’s name might appear in print or where you might learn more about their general environment — there are also government and military reports and surveyors’ diaries, for example.

Early Canadiana Online is a digital library containing more than two million pages in almost 15,000 volumes — fully searchable by a range of parameters.

Unlike the Our Roots project, Early Canadiana Online offers a much broader scope of printed material, grouped in “collections”, such as Canadian Women’s History, Colonial Government Journals, English Canadian Literature, History of French Canada (French-language texts focusing on such 17th- and 18th-century writings as religious publications, travel stories and autobiographies), Jesuit Relations, Native Studies and Reconstituted Parliamentary Debates. You can search through just one collection or across the entire site.

Although most resources are viewable for free, the Early Official Publications collection (roughly one half of the pages on this site) is available only to ECO subscribers and shows as such in your search results. Check with your local library or school, to see whether they subscribe.

Images can be viewed online or downloaded as pdf files, for which you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer.
If you are a teacher, as well as a genealogist, check out the downloadable lesson plans, developed by secondary school teachers and based on Early Canadiana Online materials.
I found this site easy to navigate but, depending on your display settings, icons (such as resize, rotate, pdf download and last/next page) can appear relatively small so be sure to look around the whole page, to familiarize yourself with available options.

What sort of information might you find, here? Well, I learned not only that a couple of my ancestors were postmasters in the 1800s but how much they were paid. I also discovered how much some other relatives paid for their tavern licenses and — via petitions made to government — about issues that concerned their communities. Earth-shattering information? No. Interesting? You bet. Time well-spent? Absolutely!

— Al Henderson

Everton's Genealogical Helper Online

Everton’s Genealogical Helper, the granddaddy of genealogy magazines, was first published way back in 1947. That’s a lot of issues.

Everton’s, as it is known in the genealogy community, features reader inquires, book reviews and articles on family history and genealogy research.
Now, has announced that it is putting all of Everton’s back issues, more than 10,000 pages, online.

According to a press release, Walter Fuller, the President and Publisher of Everton Publishers, states that “We at Everton are extremely pleased that this data, in its entirety, will now be available.”

Using optical character recognition (OCR), 60 years of the magazine are being indexed by WorldVitalRecords
.com, so that its subscribers can easily find the information they are seeking in Everton’s quickly.

As stated in the press release, in the past, Everton’s only indexed the last 10 years of the Genealogical Helper. Now, subscribers will be able to access more than 200 back issues of Everton’s through the Reference section.

— Victoria King

Emerald Ancestors
Emerald Ancestors is an online source for finding records in Northern Ireland. The owners claim, “Our aim at Emerald Ancestors is to provide affordable, high quality, online historical records for professional genealogists and family researchers investigating their Irish Family Tree.”

The site holds more than one million records gleaned from vital records and census databases in the Northern Ireland counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. But the records available will continue to increase monthly. Other services are e-books ,that can be purchased and downloaded on the spot, and lookup requests, a unique service in which Emerald Ancestors will look up the requested record and e-mail you the transcript from the original source. The fee for this varies from £4 to £12 and is available only to members. Membership can be obtained on a monthly basis at £9.99 or annually for £49.99. An annual membership entitles the user to download one free e-book per month. The price is reasonable when compared to other subscription services on the web.

I took a look at the e-book Down and its Parish Church by L.A. Pooler, printed in 1907. The book is 124 pages, and includes a list of clergy and lay people. This volume has a detailed history of the parish beginning with St. Patrick, active in the fifth century, to 1899, when the author of the book became rector. I found this book to be a good source of social history, as well. For example, I learned that, in 1708, there were just 136 houses in the parish, 25 made of stone and the rest made of mud. Of course, most of the history recorded comes from the experience of the rector who wrote it, and includes everything from heating the church to obtaining a church bell. Still, the list of parishioners (with their designated pew number) might be valuable to those researching that time period. There is also information on the parish schools, along with photographs.

A free search allows you to identify possible ancestors’ records, while membership allows you to narrow the search to specific locations, time periods and/or type of records (birth, marriages, deaths and census returns for Ulster from a variety of original sources, including civil registration indexes, parish registers and other historical manuscripts). A search for “Thomson” showed 331 marriage records, 160 birth records, 25 census results, three death records and five school register records.

Here’s an example of what you can find:
Record Type: Parish Baptism
Name: John Thomson
Gender: M
Father’s Name: Thomas
Mother’s Maiden Name: NR
Date of Baptism: 29/3/1710
Church: Derriaghy Church of
Civil District: Lisburn
County: Antrim

Emerald Ancestors could be a useful resource for those researching Northern Ireland ancestors who do not wish to travel.

— Cindy Thomson

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