Ancestry removes ‘Old Search’

I’ve used Ancestry for years, and have never had any major complaints about the service. Oh, the odd gripe here or there, sure, but nothing major, nothing serious. Mostly, I’ve been a satisfied customer. A highly satisfied customer, even.

But I’ve always relied on ‘Old Search’ to search the Ancestry databases. Because any time I’ve tried ‘New Search,’ I’ve found it clunky, overly broad (way too many false positives), and just basically dumbed-down (hey! here’s another 25 to 50 to 100 search results that have nothing to do with the parameters you’re trying to delimit, you hapless researcher; but more means better! so here they are!…well, you did say “John,” right? and look at this lengthy list with first name “John”! … so many possibilities, and more is better!: you’re sure to find something in there somewhere! …).

I hate Ancestry’s ‘New Search.’ I’m sorry, I hate to sound so negative, but I just hate it. And I am not a happy camper, not a satisfied customer, when it comes to Ancestry’s decision to turn off ‘Old Search.’ And judging by the comments to this entry (A Fond Farewell to ‘Old Search’), I strongly suspect that I am not alone.

Eh, not every change is an improvement.

A Non-Genealogical Bleg (an Epic Walk for Cancer Care)

This is an uncharacteristic post for this blog: a non-genealogical bleg.

Catty/Chatty (Catherine Frances) McGlade, early 1940s

Catty/Chatty (Catherine Frances) McGlade, Perth, Lanark Co., Ontario, early 1940s.

On June 1, I will be walking with my sisters, a couple of aunts, a boatload of cousins, and other family and friends, to support care and treatment for those living with cancer in the Ottawa area. It promises to be an Epic Walk.

Our team is called Chatty’s Class, in honour of my mother “Chatty” (Catherine Frances) McGlade, who died of metastatic breast cancer on 22 December 2012.

Two of my sisters (HERE and HERE), along with an aunt and several cousins and cousins-in-law, are raising money to support the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation. 100% of funds raised will be used locally, to support care and hope for cancer patients and cancer survivors in the Ottawa region. If you can help out with a donation (in any amount: every little bit counts!), your generosity will be much appreciated. Thanks a million for your support.

Donations gratefully accepted HERE.

UPDATE: My cousin, Susan (Hendrick) Jones, team leader for Chatty’s Class, in an interview on CTV.

UPDATE (27 May 2013): I now have my own donation page. Again, any amount, large or small (it all adds up, and every little bit counts!), is much appreciated. Thanks a million.





Currently reading (and greatly enjoying) Peter Behrens’ The O’Briens. Probably the only novel I’ve ever read that begins with the Famine Irish of Pontiac County, Québec. Up the Pontiac!

Best general guide to Scottish genealogy? to English genealogy?

If I had to name just one reference guide to Irish genealogy, I would not hesitate to say John Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. As a general, all-purpose guide, there’s no question that this is the book: it is very well-written and very well-organized; both comprehensive and comprehensible; and also just smart and insightful, which makes it a pleasure to use.

Is there a comparable ‘the best general guide’ to Scottish genealogy? to English genealogy? and I suppose I should also add, to Welsh genealogy? (and why is Wales so frequently overlooked?)

“Mrs. Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio:” Using FamilySearch

Michael McGlade’s obituary (Perth Courier, 20 January 1905) notes that he was predeceased by his wife Bridget McNulty and by five of their nine children; and that he was survived by three sons and one daughter. Of the five dead children, the obituary records, one is buried in Perth (that one is Margaret McGlade, who died in Brockville in 1894), and “four are buried in Ireland” (presumably Co. Armagh). The surviving sons are named as Patrick and John of Perth (Ontario), and Michael of Havelock (also Ontario); and the daughter is named as “Mrs Hugh Walsh, Latonia, Ohio.”

So who was Mrs Hugh Walsh of Latonia, Ohio? I had no idea what her first name might be, though I knew, of course, that her maiden name was McGlade; and I had also never heard of a place called Latonia, Ohio.

Irish Catholic Ancestors: How Far Back Can You Go?

You already know, of course, that you can’t really trace your ancestry back to Niall of the Nine Hostages, or to anyone grand and legendary like that. And you probably also suspect, if your family tree looks anything like mine, that traditional family lore along the lines of ‘We were once the kings and queens of Ireland!’ rests on dubious and shaky grounds at best; and turns out to be, upon further investigation, something more like, ‘We were once the agrarian underclass of the counties of Cork and Tipperary!’

So: how far back can you really, and realistically, go?

When bureaucrats blog…

…they do it as a “pilot project.”

The newly launched Library and Archives Canada Blog is apparently a somewhat provisional affair, contingent on (funding? feedback?) some definition of success that will require putting a stop to all blog posts on March 20, 2012, for a month-long period of evaluation. It’s all explained on their “About the Blog” page, and it sounds a little bit awkward and strained: as if the desire to finally embrace the new social media is at cross-purposes with the habit of never doing anything without a 5-year plan.

In any case, the new blog is a welcome development, and I hope they can make it stick.

Btw, the National Library of Ireland’s NLI Blog is well worth reading, as is the British Library’s Untold Lives.