Updates to ALE July 2015

As we begin our gradual slide into the summer months, here is a brief summary of the new and updated databases that have been added to the library's subscription to Ancestry Library Edition database since April 2015:


* Index to Alien Arrivals at Canadian Atlantic and Pacific Seaports, 1904-1944

* U.S., Passenger and Crew Lists for U.S.-Bound Vessels Arriving in Canada, 1912-1939 and 1953-1962


* Brandenburg, Germany, Transcripts of Church Records, 1700-1874 (in German) (updated)

* Dortmund, Germany, Jewish Women Residents, 1930-1943

* Poland, Łódź Ghetto Register Books, 1939-1944 (USHMM) (in German) (updated)

* Romania, Vital Records from Selected Regions, 1607-1914 (in German)

* Sweden, Selected Indexed Death Records, 1840-1860 and 1878-1942 (in Swedish) (updated)


* Australia Newspaper Vital Notices, 1851-1997

* Brazil, Find A Grave Index, 1800s-Current (updated)

* Mexico, Find A Grave Index, 1800s-Current (updated)

* Victoria, Australia, Index to Naturalisation Certificates, 1851-1928

United Kingdom

* Surrey, England, Calendar of Prisoners, 1848-1902

* Surrey, England, Mental Hospital Admissions, 1867-1900

* UK, British Army Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1812-1817

* UK, Jersey, Channel Islands, Wills and Testaments, 1663-1948

* United Kingdom, Royal Naval Officers' Service Records Index, 1756-1931

* West Yorkshire, England, Alehouse Licences, 1771-1962

* West Yorkshire, England, Bastardy Records, 1690-1914 (updated)

* West Yorkshire, England, Occupation Records, 1793-1930

United States

* Kansas, City and County Census Records, 1919-1961

* Oregon, Motor Vehicle Registrations, 1911-1946

* U.S., Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970

* U.S., Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963 (updated)

* Washington, D.C., Passenger and Crew Lists, 1942-1962

Note: This database is accessible in-house at all 9 branches of Regina Public Library, including the Prairie History Room at Central Library. Users simply need to have an updated library card to log onto the computer terminals to access this database.


Interesting Blog Post on Becoming a Professional Genealogist

Ever wondered what it would be like to turn your genealogical passion and research skills into a career? If so, check out this Lifehacker blog post where the interviewer talked to Crista Cowan, a genealogist who works for Ancestry.com.

If this article spurs you to pursue a genealogical career, you might also want to borrow the following book for 3 weeks to help get you started:

Campbell, Jennifer. Start & Run a Personal History Business. Bellingham, WA: Self-Counsel Press, 2011.

Summary: Anyone can start a personal history business to meet the demands of communities, families, and even corporations to record and preserve the stories they want remembered. The preservation of memories was recently noted by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times as a profitable business opportunity, and appeals to a broad range of people. This practical guide covers every stage of business development including how to actually do the work, starting up, education and training, marketing and expansion, and a step-by-step guide for new personal historians to produce a first project.

--May P. Chan, Prairie History Librarian

Categories: New Books

New PHR Books for June

Beaumont, Ralph. Heckman's Canadian Pacific: A Photographic Journey. Credit Valley Railway Company, 2015.

Summary: Joseph William Heckman's career as photographer with the Canadian Pacific Railway, from 1898 to 1915, coincided with an important period in the railway's consolidation and development. More than 4,000 prints from his glass plate photographic images were mounted in large format Albums, to serve as an internal Engineering Department working record. Transferred to the CPR Corporate Archives in the early 1970s, the collection now forms one of the most comprehensive pictorial records of the railway's coast-to-coast operations. Together with Heckman's meticulous Field Book notes, it provides an intimate view of the Canadian Pacific Railway as it spanned the breadth of Canada a century ago.

Boechler, Ileen. I Know My Onions: Homesteading North of the 53rd. Regina, SK: Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, 2014.

Summary: Ileen (nee Sheehan) Boechler's plainspoken memoir of a childhood spent homesteading beyond the 53rd parallel tugs at the roots of northern life, peeling back the layers of family and community connections to reveal the growth that is possible because of them.

Craft, Aimée. Breathing Life Into the Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One. Saskatoon, SK: Purich Publishing Limited, 2013.

Summary: Using a detailed analysis of Treaty One – covering what is today southern Manitoba – [Craft] illustrates how Anishinabe laws (inaakonigewin) defined Treaty One negotiations and opened the door to a “gathering of spirit.” Those laws included the obligations and responsibilities that derive from the relationship to the land, the need to wait for all participants before negotiations began in order to respect their jurisdiction and decision making authority, and the rooting of the treaty relationship in kinship, including references to the Queen as a mother...While the focus of this book is on Treaty One, the principles of interpretation apply equally to all treaties with First Nations.

Olesen, Joyce. 113 Boathouse Hill. Regina,SK: Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, 2014.

Summary: What began as a casual collection of notes about growing up on a farm more than 60 years ago grew to be a bigger project that became this book. Inspired by her family to record her stories and memories, Joyce Olesen reflects on the "good old days," not to glorify them as a time better than the present, but to offer a glimpse into the life of one family who grew up on the Saskatchewan prairie and to celebrate those long ago days.


Tale of a Town Tour of Saskatchewan in 2015

Tale of a Town, is a national oral history project created and produced by FIXT POINT, a not-for-profit theatre and media company based in Toronto, Ontario. The mandate of FIXT POINT is to preserve local heritage and promote neighbourhood culture through the telling of tales across multiple platforms.

Over three years, The Tale of a Town is touring across the Canada, gathering downtown stories in small towns and big cities alike, and creating performance installations in the capital city of each province and territory. This national venture will culminate in a multi-platform celebration of the country’s main street culture, in commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Here is the group's itinerary for Saskatchewan:

2015 DateLocation
June 21La Ronge
June 23Prince Albert
June 25Saskatoon
June 29-30Moose Jaw
July 1-2Regina

So be on the look-out for The Tale of the Town's distinctive traveling recording studio and stop in to share stories about what makes this city so unique!

For more information about this project, check out the group's website.


Categories: New Books

New PHR Book: Collection of Essays About Saskatchewan

Rogers, Randal and Christine Ramsay, editors. Overlooking Saskatchewan: Minding the Gap. Regina, SK: University of Regina Press, 2014.

Summary: When Canadians think of Saskatchewan--if they think of it at all--they think "flat and boring," a place to drive through or fly over, a gap between the bigger cities to the east and west...But within the country's narrative, Saskatchewan remains on the margins. In [the book], twenty writers articulate the challenges and the power of this identity, revealing how the citizens of Saskatchewan continue to lead the way in the creation of culture and the nation's sense of self.


Categories: Recommended Websites

The British Library’s Endangered Archives Program

As Regina is set to play host to the annual conference for Canadian Archivists this week, I thought I would share a website that I recently stumbled upon that celebrates the work of archivists and their work--the Endangered Archives Programme.

In the organization's own words, "The Programme's aim is to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration world-wide. This is achieved principally through the award of grants in an annual competition. The grants provide funding to enable successful applicants to locate relevant endangered archival collections, to arrange their transfer to a suitable local archival home where possible, to create digital copies of the material and to deposit the copies with local institutions and the British Library."

At present, there are approximately over 7 million image files associated with the Programme. And while the site was not specifically established for genealogists in mind, there are some historical collections that could be potentially used for genealogical research such as

* Records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in Moshi, Tanzania (Africa)
* Social history of the Gambia: rescuing an endangered archive, police and court records (Africa)
* Digital preservation of newspapers of the first half of the twentieth century in Nicaragua (Americas)
* Collecting and preserving parish archives in an Andean diocese (Americas)
* Preservation and digitisation of Yi archives in public and private collections in Yunnan, China (Asia)
* Retrieval of two major and endangered newspapers: Jugantar and Amrita Bazar Patrika (Asia)
* Preservation of Gypsy/Roma historical and cultural heritage in Bulgaria (Europe)

To keep up-to-date with the project, follow their blog. Also check out this article that provides a great overview of this initiative.

--May P. Chan, Prairie History Librarian


On The Trail of the Far Fur Country Movie Viewing

Please join the RPL Film Theatre and The Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) in welcoming filmmaker Kevin Nikkel for the following movie screening:

On The Trail Of The Far Fur Country
(CANADA 2014, 80 min) G
(In English/Inuktitut with English subtitles)

RPL Film Theatre
Lower level, Central Library - 2311 12th Avenue
Thursday, June 11, 2015
7 pm to 9 pm
Admission - FREE!

Movie description: In 1919, a film crew set out on an epic journey across Canada's North. Over the course of six months, their expedition traveled by icebreaker, canoe, and dog sled, capturing the Canadian fur trade in a silent feature documentary. The Romance of the Far Fur Country was released in 1920, two years before the legendary film Nanook of the North. Rediscovering the documentary in a British archive, another film crew begins a journey to bring this lost film back to life, taking it to the northern communities where the film was originally shot. As people watch the footage from 1919, something special happens. Images come to life; people recognize their family members, their landscapes, and their lost traditions. Contrasting then and now, On the Trail of the Far Fur Country is an intimate portrait of Canada and its Aboriginal people, and a chronicle of how life in the North has changed in the last century.


Categories: New Magazines

Latest Issue of Internet Genealogy Available for Borrowing

Internet Genealogy, June/July 2015, Vol. 10, No. 2

* "Online Essentials: Four Webhosting Basics for Family Researchers!" by Tony Bandy, pgs. 13-15.

* "Genealogy Apps for Your iPhone or Android" by George C. Morgan, pgs. 21-24.

* "Online Safety: Protecting Your Data" by Carol Richey, pgs. 31-33.

* "Online Resources for Finding World War II Ancestorys" by Jennifer Holik, pgs. 34-38.

* "How Do You Put Out a Genealogical Wildfire?" by Robbie Gorr, pgs. 41-42.

Note: This magazine can be borrowed for 1 week.


Categories: Stories From Our Past

Roland J. Groome- Regina's Aviation Hero

During spring time, the skies in Saskatchewan stretch endlessly into the horizon, prompting daydreams of travel and adventure. I thought it would be a good time of year to look back at one of our early aviation pioneers, a man who looked at the same Saskatchewan sky, and decided he belonged there. This is the story of Roland J. Groome, a Regina resident who became the first licensed pilot in Canada.

Roland J. Groome was born in 1899 in Britain and immigrated to Canada with his family as a young boy. He became fascinated with flying after watching an aerial performance at the Regina Exhibition in 1911. During WWI, Groome trained as a pilot, and became an instructor in Ontario, training young British and Canadian soldiers for combat overseas. After returning from the war, Groome partnered with fellow pilot Ed Clarke, and mechanic Robert McCombie, forming the Aerial Service Company in 1919 (at what is now Hill Ave and Cameron St.). The planes carried passengers and freight as well as offering flying lessons. Return Trips to Fort Qu’appelle cost 80.00, Moose Jaw 70.00, and one way to either cost 50.00. For thrill seekers with money to spare, they also offered airplane rides over Regina for 10.00.

Prior to 1920, commercial flying was largely unregulated in Canada. After 1920, the Dominion Government had inspectors appointed to examine pilots and inspect airports. Groome had to fly a cross country test flight in a storm, and after successfully doing this, was granted the first pilot’s license issued in the Dominion of Canada. Because of Groome’s skills in the cockpit, Regina also became home to the 1st airplane registered in Canada, and Groome’s engineer, Robert McCombie earned the first engineer’s license. The Aerial Service Company was the first registered air harbor in the country.Most of these early years were devoted to travelling around to fairs throughout the province, “barnstorming” for crowds. This early venture proved difficult to maintain in the recession stricken prairies, where folks did not have the disposable income to partake in “joy rides” in an airplane.

This all changed in 1927, when Groome and Jack Wight started Universal Air Industries, Ltd. At the spot on Albert street where the Golden Mile Centre stands today. In 1927, the Regina Flying Club was also formed, and R.J. Groome was instructor, responsible for training pilots to become licensed. The Club itself required considerable investment, and many local businesses offered support of this venture through donations. In June of 1928, the Flying club received its’ first plane courtesy of the Federal Government, a DeHavilland Moth, and classes were started.

In 1930, the Lakeview airport was closed and the Regina Municipal Airport was opened on the current site of the Regina Airport. On the afternoon of Sept 20, 1935, Groome and his student, Arnold Sims were tragically killed when the Avro Avian plane they were flying, came apart mid-air. They crashed to the ground just north-east of the Regina airport. The death of Regina's foremost pilot caused an outpouring of grief throughout the city, and the Groome family received condolences from air men located throughout the Dominion. During his career, Groome personally taught 175 people how to fly, and was a crucial early promoter of air travel. To honor his countless contributions the Regina airfield was renamed the Roland J. Groome airfield in 2005. Next time you see a plane flying the Regina skies, take a moment to think of Roland Groome and his partners, who took to the skies and made history almost a century ago.

Written By: S. Hay

Articles Cited:
"Pioneer Air Spirit Lives On", Regina Leader Post. June 28, 1986.
"Province Can Boast Many Aviation Firsts", Regina Leader Post. June 8, 1965.
Crone, Ray H. "The Unknown Air Force", Saskatchewan History Magazine, Vol. 30, No. 1, 1977.
Groome, Paul F. Stories of Early Flying in Western Canada. Regina: 1966. From the personal collection of Mr. Groome.

Note- All reference items used for researching this article can be found in the "Aviation" section of the upright files in the Prairie History Room of the Regina Public Library.
Photo Credit: Eyeno.net


Categories: New Books

New Métis History Book for May 2015

Hogue, Michel. Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People. Regina, SK: University of Regina Press, [2015].

Summary: [The book] is a sprawling, ambitious look at how national borders and notions of race were created and manipulated to unlock access to indigenous lands. It is also an intimate story of individuals and families, brought vividly to life by history writing at its best. It begins with the emergence of the Plains Metis and ends with the fracturing of their communities as the Canada-U.S. border was enforced. It also explores the borderland world of the Northern Plains, where an astonishing diversity of people met and mingled: Blackfoot, Cree, Gros Ventre, Lakota, Dakota, Nez Perce, Assiniboine, Anishinaabes, Metis, Europeans, Canadians, Americans, soldiers, police, settlers, farmers, hunters, traders, bureaucrats. In examining the battles that emerged over who belonged on what side of the border, Hogue disputes Canada's peaceful settlement story of the Prairie West and challenges familiar bromides about the "world's longest undefended border."

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