Today is Remembrance day, Nov 11, so this is a good time to talk of the Great War. Normally we remember the people who died defending our country, but this post is about someone who survived.



Sounding Thunder : The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow
By McInnes, Brian D.
Book – 2016


Louis Riel

Louis Riel: heinous rebel or martyred leader in the quest for Canadian independence?

At the time, the Hudsons Bay company, with monopoly rights granted by England, and roots in the North West Company, controlled much of Canada (“Ruperts Land”) and was almost a law unto itself. Riel led the Métis people who lived in the huge area controlled by the company, and whose rights were ignored by the company.

Riel is portrayed as a rebel in most published material, but the times are changing and more people are inclined to see him in a good light. For interest, look in Canadiana’s heritage collection. He is mentioned in hundreds of pages in this vast collection, and here are just a few:

You can browse in the vicinity of these pages.


Certified!, where I worked, has been certified to be a Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) by Center for Research Libraries (CRL).

What? A TDR has computer storage systems used to archive historical information. In Canadiana’s case, this includes things like the correspondence of Prime Ministers, historical journals, and many other things.  The name TDR applies to the whole organization, including the people, the systems, and stakeholders.

Who? CRL is the authority on this sort of thing.

When? The verification process took several months, concluding in July 2015.

How? CRL staff visited Canadiana’s facilities several times. They interviewed key staff, reviewed policy and procedures, and verified that their standards were met. They  compared Canadiana to the other TDR’s (fewer than 10 so far) and scored us highly in their report. There was a fee paid to CRL, so there is some conflict of interest.

Why? Why is this important? Because Canadiana’s stakeholders will have great confidence that we are meeting our goals, and Canadiana will likely get more interest from universities and government departments which want their archival materials preserved.


Personal Archiving

Personal Archiving – Preserving Our Digital Heritage, edited by Donald T. Hawkins ; foreword by Brewster Kahle, – 2013

Do you have a personal archive?

You probably have digital photos, videos, emails, and perhaps written articles or more. You probably have a profile on Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Flickr, Picasa, Familytreemaker, and / or other social sites in the ‘cloud’.


Canadiana video

Canadiana has a new promotional video.

“ is a coalition of members dedicated to providing broad access to Canada’s documentary heritage. Through our membership alliance, Canadian libraries share tools and capacity, partner on open-source projects, and spearhead digital preservation in Canada.”

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Sir John Franklin

The recent discovery of Franklin’s shipwreck reminds us of the challenges of his explorations. If you are in Ottawa, visit the Library and Archives building on Wellington Street to see some artifacts, currently on display in the main lobby.

Before Franklin took his ships to the northern archipelago he had done two overland expeditions. He wrote some books that you can read at At the time, he knew about the mainland geography in detail, but knew very little about the north.

See the original books under glass on display in the main lobby. Or see the pages at Some viewing is free, after which a subscription is required.

Here is a fragment of a map

Tenyson wrote the inscription for the cenotaph in Westminster Abbey:

Not here! the white north has thy bones; and thou,
   Heroic sailor-soul,
Art passing on thine happier voyage now
   Toward no earthly pole.


Warre the artist and scout

In the years after the 1812-1814 war, the British army sent H.J. Warre to visit Oregon. In his travels, he sketched the countryside and the people.

Some of his work, in manuscript form, is hereSir Henry Warre. See, perhaps, pages 190, 222, and 422. Biographical information is on page 18.

The images above are courtesy of, which curates a huge online archive related to Canadian history.


Registering a vessel in 1848

If you are a shipbuilder in Canada then you probably find it a bother to register a newly built vessel. Maybe it was simpler in 1848. History buffs will be interested in the form they needed to submit:Registering a vessel in 1848

They had impressive forms back then:




The form was filled out in cursive, by someone who was skilled with a pen :


I don’t think the owner, John MacPherson of Kingston Esquire, filled this out himself.  More likely there was a clerk in a law office doing this.

MacPherson was likely the elder brother of  Sir David Lewis MacPherson, senator, whose biography is at bio. David is named as a co-owner, as is their business partner Samuel Crane bio.

The images above are courtesy of, which curates a huge online archive related to Canadian history.