Royal Society of Canada convenes an Expert Panel to review Library & Archives Canada

Thanks goes to John Reid of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog for posting the following on Saturday, 17 August 2013:

Libraries, Archives, and Canada’s Future

This will be of particular interest to genealogical and family history societies across Canada.

Stimulated by problems arising from actions, and inaction, at Library and Archives Canada, and a changing environment for archives and libraries generally, the Royal Society of Canada has convened an Expert Panel with mandate:

  • To investigate what services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians, are currently receiving from libraries and archives.
  • To explore what Canadian society expects of libraries and archives in the 21st century.
  • To identify the necessary changes in resources, structures, and competencies to ensure libraries and archives serve the Canadian public good in the 21st century.
  • To listen to and consult the multiple voices that contribute to community building and memory building.
  • To demonstrate how deeply the knowledge universe has been and will continue to be revolutionized by digital technology.
  • To conceptualize the integration of the physical and the digital in library and archive spaces.

The Panel is inviting comments on their blog and have scheduled consultations for: Yellowknife (Sept. 13-14); Vancouver (Sept. 19-21); Ottawa (Oct. 4); Winnipeg (Oct. 18-19); Calgary (Oct. 22-25); Montreal (Oct. 24); Edmonton (Oct. 28-29); Halifax (Nov. 8-9); Toronto (Jan. 15-17).

It’s unclear how the consultation sessions will work. Some very short session are scheduled at the first stop in Yellowknife. I expect clarification next week. There is also the opportunity for written input.

Given the importance of archives and libraries for genealogy and family history, and with many small and not so small archives depend on volunteers from our community, the Expert Panel should hear from us, likely through the major societies we support to represent our interests. 

Those interested in the future of libraries might want to read a report Facing the Future (pdf) written by one of the panel members, Ken Roberts which in discussing interlibrary loan mentions:

“many of the requested items are from people conducting genealogical research and who seek cemetery records and newspaper birth announcements. People might gain better, and more immediate access if there were a focused effort to digitize such material. While initially more expensive, digitization may save ongoing Interlibrary loan costs. We don’t know because, to my knowledge, no studies exist.”

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1921 Canadian Census on Ancestry

1921 Census of Canada Released

 

The 1921 census of Canada has finally been released from Library and Archives Canada.  It is available, free of charge at Ancestry: www.ancestry.ca/census.

At the moment, you are only able to browse a geographic index with links to the census images, and you need to be registered with Ancestry to do this.  You will need to know the province, district, and sub-district where your ancestor lived, and then be ready to scroll your time away.

 Ancestry intends to have a name index available for its customers by autumn, available free of charge at LAC after three years.

Sharing Memories, Week Thirty-Four: Canada’s Centennial (4)-Part One of Three

 

Confederation’s Armed Defenders Recalled : First Part

Carleton Place Canadian, 28 April, 1966

By Howard M. Brown

 

When agreement was being reached for the attainment of Canada’s Confederation, the borders of the present provinces of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were manned with Canadian and British forces prepared to repel invasion.  The strange enemy was the private army of the Fenian Brotherhood and its so-called Irish Republic of North America.  It was based in a northern United States flushed but worn by its Civil War success and lacking to this extreme degree in an attitude of friendship for Great Britain and Canada.

The Fenians and their followers quickly formed a misguided but large and reckless organization.  Their preparations had been carried out with the tolerance of the United States government during the term of office of one of that nation’s worst presidents.  Canada, by the Fenian plan, was to become Irish Fenian territory from which, with the aid of other nations, Ireland would be freed from England’s rule.  Then Canada might possibly be handed over to the United States. 

The Fenian Raids against Canada in 1866, renewed in 1870, came from a fertile soil for this mad scheme.  Calling their organization an Irish Republic, the American Fenian leaders and their delegates from most of the then existing states of the union met in Cincinnati in September, 1865, and adopted a paper constitution modeled on that of the United States.  Its active parts were its War Department and its Treasury.  Foot-loose soldiers trained in the Civil War were available by the thousand and not averse to conquest and plunder.  The tools and the spirit of war were in abundant supply.  With more able Fenian direction Canada might have paid dearly.

The main encounters of the 1866 Raids were in Welland County and in the Eastern Townships in the first week of June.  They were recalled in the first installment of this story of invasion dangers accompanying our Confederation, for which local and national Centennial celebrations now are being prepared.  The Eastern Ontario points considered most threatened were Cornwall, Prescott, Brockville and Kingston.  Some two thousand troops hastily placed at Cornwall included parts of two British regiments and militia of Cornwall, Argenteuil County, Kingston and Ottawa.

At Prescott a force of similar size included several companies of British troops and militia units of Hawkesbury, Belleville, Gananoque and the Ottawa area.  Two of the latter companies were those of Fitzroy and Pakenham.  Prescott’s Fort Wellington was strengthened and supplied with artillery reinforcements.  Kingston’s fortifications remained garrisoned by British troops.  Its district district militia units of rifles, infantry, artillery and cavalry went on active service standing.  With lighter forces of the Ottawa area the capital city of Ottawa also was garrisoned.

Brockville’s defences were provided by the rifle companies of Brockville, Carleton Place and Perth and the infantry companies of Almonte, Perth, Brockville and Gananoque, under Lieut. Colonel James Crawford.  A principal historical account of the Fenian Raids published in 1910 states:  “These companies were exceedingly efficient, and did great service in guarding the riverfront and railway communications at Brockville.  Col. Crawford and his troops received great praise from the Major-General for the very satisfactory manner in which they did their duty on these trying occasions.”  (John A. Macdonald, writer of the 1910 history of the Fenian Raids, served on the Niagara frontier in 1866 and 1870, founded and edited the Arnprior Chronicle, and was a captain of the 43rd Battalion, Ottawa and Carleton Rifles.)

Captain James Poole’s newspaper’s report of the departure of June 3 of the Carleton Place company for the front said in part:

“After having been on the alert for about twenty-four hours awaiting an order to proceed to the frontier, a hurried dispatch was received about midnight on Sunday that the volunteer companies of Carleton Place and Almonte should be ready in about an hour to repair to Brockville by a special train.  At 2:30 a.m. on Sunday the train arrived bringing the Almonte Company of Infantry under the command of Captain Gemmill.  The Carleton Place Rifle Company commanded by Captain Poole and Lieutenant Brown were in waiting, having been accompanied to the station by over a hundred of our citizens.  At the request of Captain Poole the Rev. J. A. Preston addressed the men.

It was a solemn and moving sight, the moonlight giving a dim view of the outline of the ranks and the friends and relatives moving to and fro as they took leave of those near and dear to them, discharging their duty to defend out hearths and homes against the invasion of a lawless band of marauders.  As the train left the station three hearty cheers from the citizens rang the air, lustily re-echoed by the true men whom we hope to welcome soon again.”

To be continued……