Showing posts with label OGS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OGS. Show all posts

Saturday, June 23, 2012

OGS President Interviewed

Read Shirley Sturdevant’s interview in the 21 June edition of the Chatham Daily News at called “Connecting ancestors to the present.”

She gives her own story of how she became president after joining the OGS five years ago, and the OGS thoughts on the current Library and Archives Canada situation.

It’s worth a read - quite a good interview.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

May 2012 Families

Being the editor, I am really proud of this issue, because it is all about Sharing Your Family History!

The first article is Four Women and Four Legacies by Dr. Joseph Wearing.

The paper tells the history of the four Thompson women who were from Ireland, and who eventally lived in London, and Petrolia, Ontario.

Dr. Wearing shows us how to research and use wills, and property transcripts to trace female ancestry of our family. A thoughtful, exciting read!

Guylaine Petrin comes back with another paper entitled Who Was Jane Ross Kingston?, and she takes us to court and burial records in Upper Canada to prove who she really was - or wasn't.

As I noted in my editoral "Once again, she shows that using court records can bring much of family history to life, and goes a lomg way in proving the existance of a person".

Another paper in this issue is Of Buttermilk and Banjos: A Glimpse into the History of Blacks in Norfolk County in which the former archivist of the Eva Brook Donly Museum and Archives,  Scott Gilles, takes us to daily like as it was lived by Black Canadians in the mid-1800s.

Gwen Patterson in her column Where Are Those Records? writes about George Gordon, the earliest merchant- in Penetanguishene, and Brooke Skelton in her paper The English Settlement Examination Record for William Bennett of Chedzoy, Somerset in which a chance reading of a certain document in an archives solved a huge genealogical problem.

The next issue of Families will be released the first week in August, and it will feature the First Prize winner in the Keffer Essay Contest - Virginia Reid with the paper How an Old Handkerchief Helped Me, the First Prize of the Dr. Don Brearley Student Essay Award which is William Vollmer with his paper A Mastery Like No Other, and a real exciting paper The Family of Jacob Phillips and Sarah "Sally" Kaaka of Etobicoke: An Overview by Dave Phillips.

The site of the Ontario Genealogical Society is

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keffer Writing Contest

Every year, the Ontario Genealogical Society sponsors a writing contest called the Keffer Writing Contest – and this year – it was something special. We had 14 entrants!

From the 14 essays – four were chosen as winners, and they are -

First Place goes to Virginia Reid, and her essay "How an Old Handkerchief Helped Me"

Second Place goes to Debra Butler Honor UE, and her essay "The Stain Glass Mystery"

Third Place goes to Anne Rahamut, and her essay "Mrs. Teepell's Tale"


Fourth Place goes to David Harper, and his essay "Tracing 19th Century Homesteading"

If you want to see the rules for entry, go to

If you aren't a member, they have a special offer where you can join for $35.00 for a six month period, and be eligible to submit an essay. Plus, there is lots of records on the OGS Members Site.

There will be one essay published per issue of Families, starting with the August 2012 issue.

The deadline for the 2013 contest is November 1, 2012.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review: The Beginner's Guide to Genealogy

Fraser Dunford, the former executive director of the Ontario Genealogical Society, wrote a small yet delightful and very informative book  a few years ago on what to do as a beginner genealogist. It is to be noted that the book, The Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, is written from the point of view of Ontario records.

In the "Introduction", he says, “This book starts with some of the basic concepts used in genealogy, shows you how to start on your family tree, then looks briefly at two huge topics, evidence and ethics.”

In "How To Do the Basics", he discusses such topics as Family Tree (difference between Ancestor and Descendant trees - with examples), Family Record, BMD, and Dates.

The section, “Where to Find It”, covers Maps, Census, Religious Records, Civil Registration, Municipal Records, Land Records, Newspapers, Immigration/Emigration, and Wills.

Also included is a Glossary, and a Relationship Chart, in addition to other material not mentioned here.

You may also wish to read his companion book, Beginner's Guide to Ontario Genealogy (Toronto: OGS, 2006).

Both books are available from the bookstore at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Canadian Funeral Home Records Online

Steve Fulton, Chairperson of the Niagara Peninsula Branch of the OGS, writes that the Morse & Sons Funeral Home Records Index is now online.

He would like to thanks the volunteers who have spent countless hours working on this project. You can visit their website Please click on the Index Button to do a search.

Finally, he would like to reintroduce the Surname Index on our website as well, and he says you will find it under the Index Button also. Over the next month, the Surname Index will be changed over to work and appear like the Morse & Sons Funeral Home Records Index.

So please visit their website often, as many things will be changing over the next couple of months relating to various indexes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

OGS "Families" – February 2012 Issue

Photo – A cover photo by Janet Iles of the Greenwood Cemetery in Owen Sound, which was once known as the “People's Cemetery”. Read more about its history in “On the Cover” on page 34 of this issue.

The Ontario Genealogical Society's journal, Families (of which I am the editor) was released in February of this year.

As usual, there were two themes to this issue – Ontario Cemeteries, and Ontario Heritage.


The excerpt was from the book, A Better Place: Death and Burial in Nineteenth-Century Ontario, by Susan Smart in which Chapter 6: The Establishment of Cemeteries in Three Towns (the three towns were Peterborough, Kingston, and Niagara-on-the-Lake) was reprinted in full. Plus, a book review was written about the book on page 32.

To continue the cemetery theme, two more articles about Ontario - Rambles Around Some Halton-Peel Cemeteries by Dorothy Kew, in which she gives an excellent review (with photos) of cemeteries of Halton-Peel, and an article, Changing Gravestone Motifs in Quinte and Beyond by Peter Johnson, in which he describes the “changing motif” on gravestones through the centuries – and there are fourteen photos in the paper!

Ontario Heritage

Three papers were published in acknowledgement of Ontario Heritage Day in February, and they were - Family History of a Caribbean Canadian by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, in which he traces the life of Tom Ashby; Why and When Had Mary Ann and Joseph Whiteley Moved to Grey County by Catherine Whiteley, in which she traces the life of George Forbes; and Hunting for Hidden History: How Slavery Came to the Town of York by Hilary Dawson, in which she write an account of slavery in York Township.

One other paper, Letters Home: Upper Canada to England by Dr. Bill Mills, give a very gripping account of a homesick Christopher Stokes writing home to his family in Nottinghamshire, England.

Families is available only to members of the Ontario Genealogical Society. There are two membership packages available – a six month term for $35.00, or a full year for $60.00. Memberships are available at

Full issues of Families, including an index, is also available for the years 1962 to 2006 through the “Members Only” portal at

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heritage Day 2012

This year's theme of Heritage Day in Petrolia, Ontario is 'History of ENERGY’. It will take place on Saturday, March 3rd from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Victoria Hall, Petrolia.

There will be at the display the Union Gas, the Oil Museum of Canada, Van Tuyl and Fairbank Solarware, Waste Management, Wind Power, the Lambton Room, and the Lambton Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society!

Oil was discovered in Petolia, and in the Oil Springs area in the 1850s, and the Petrolia Heritage Committee has amassed a huge amount of material you can go through at

Friday, December 2, 2011

York Ancestors Newsletter

The November 2011 edition of the newsletter of the York Branch of the OGS, Ancestors, has been published. It continues with "The Udell Family of Markham, Pickering and Uxbridge (Part 2)" in which Walter Udell continues the story of the family through the middle- and late-1800s.

If you are interested, a website has been developed at

At September's meeting, Rich Roberts from Global Genealogy talked about the latest edition of Family Tree Maker, and at the October meeting, Wes Playter talked about the Roadhouse & the Rose Funeral Home in Newmarket.

A Special Note: The York Branch will be celebrating their 15th year celebration in June. They are asking that if you have family history or photos that you would like to have featured at the party, email

You can go to their website at The York Region covers the former York County minus the City of Toronto.

If you are interested in joining Ontario Genealogical Society and the York Branch, go to

Friday, October 21, 2011

Niagara Peninsula Branch of the OGS

I just received this notice from Steve Fulton from the Niagara Peninsula Branch of the OGS. It shows another way to reach long distant members, or people who cannot attend.

"The Niagara Peninsula Branch of the OGS would like to announce that the guest speaker will now be streamed onto the Internet for those from a distance or who are unable to make it to the meeting location.

The Regional 4 Meeting will not be streamed but the Guest Speaker will be during the talk times.  Please see the flyer on our website for start times and all times are in EST.  There will be no recording of the guest speaker for future playback.

The cost to join us will be $15; the fastest way to pay is visiting the Niagara Peninsula Branch Website at clicking on the Region 4 Meeting Box on the front page.  It will allow you to register and then pay with PayPal.

Please note: If you plan to join us via the internet, please make all payments on or before Oct 27/11 so we have enough time to get instructions and login information to you.

Any questions please email the Branch directly –"

Thanks you.

Steve Fulton
Chair, Niagara Peninsula Branch

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dear Readers

As you have seen from my infrequent postings to this blog as of late, I have been busy doing other "genealogical" things, and I really haven't had the time to post on a regular basis.

Plus, I have just taken on another job.

John Becker, the editor of Families (the journal of the OGS) has taken ill, and is unable to complete the August issue. So I have taken over the editorship of the August issue as Guest Editor.

Those of you who have been involved with publications know that it is very intensive work, and since I am also the editor of NewsLeaf (the newsletter of the OGS), I don't imagine I will see too much of the summer from now until the middle of July, when the two publications go to the printer.

So if you will bear with me while I work on these three OGS publications (yes, I also edit e-NewsLeaf, the e-mail newsletter), I will be posting a bit less during the next few weeks.

Of course, you can always read me in NewsLeaf, e-NewsLeaf, or Families by simply joining the Ontario Genealogical Society at NewsLeaf and Families are issued four times a year (Feb, May, Aug, Nov), while e-NewsLeaf is issued eight times a year (Jan, Mar, Apr, June, Jul, Sept, Oct, Dec).

But I have more good news for my readers - if you were not aware, there are over 200 previously posted blogs in the archives to keep you company in this dry time - see the section marked "Blog Archive" at the right side of the page. You can search by date, or if a more direct approach is desired, use the custom search box for the site, powered by Google.

In any event, I look forward to getting back to the blog, and in the meantime, I wish to say -

"Thank you for your patience, and continued support!"



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ottawa Branch, OGS - September Meeting

The next meeting of the Ottawa Branch, OGS will be held on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 p.m. in Room 156 of the Library and Archives Canada building at 395 Wellington Street.

Coreen Atkins-Sheldrick will speak on her new book, "In Our Defence: The Veterans & Military Heritage of Historic Osgoode Township", about the military history of Osgoode Township, Carleton County.

She is going to talk about the stories she learned while working on this book.

I see where she has another book called, "The Yorke Families of Historic Osgoode Township, Carleton County", written in 2003.

For more information, please visit <>.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

OGS Conference information is now online!

I was just going around my weekly check of things on the Internet recently, and I said to myself, " I wonder if they have put anything about Conference '09 on the OGS site?" - and by gosh, they had!

In fact, they have put the whole thing on - so you can go ahead and check the program, see who's coming, and what special events will be happening.

One of the features will be the celebrating of the 300th anniversary of the Palatines, with features by prominent Palatine researchers on the Irish Palatines who settled in Ontario.

I will be there Thursday evening, and starting Friday, I will be on the tour of the new Ontario Archives and will cut it a bit short to come back and see the Graduation Ceremony of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, as well as the Opening Ceremonies of the conference.

Kory L. Meyerink is slated to speak at the J. Richard Houston Memorial Lecture that evening, and a reception will follow.

On Saturday, it's off to an early start. At 8:00 a.m., Brian Gilchrist will start the day off by giving his talk at the Plenary Session entitled, "Pedigree and Progress: Making Connections in the Digital Age from the Printed Page".

The rest of the day I am going to hear a couple of lectures and go around the "Marketplace" and say my "Hellos!" to old friends and new acquaintances.

Saturday night, I will go to the banquet and hear Charlotte Gray speak, and on Sunday, I will be going around taking pictures and getting more news for the OGS NewsLeaf and e-NewsLeaf. There will be the closing ceremonies in the afternoon.

I plan to blog while I am there, and after the conference I hope to stay in Toronto for a couple of days and visit around to see what has appeared since I was there last summer.

If you want to see the material that has been put on the OGS website, please go to

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

OGS announces Trillium Grant

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) is pleased to announce a Trillium Grant as a starter fund for a project with the OGS to help Ontario to help Ontario heritage organizations digitize parts of their collections.

The funds — granted over two years — will enable OGS to hire a technician, obtain equipment, and travel to the heritage organizations to scan the material.

The project will:
  • provide a digitized version of one-of-a-kind records, increasing security
  • allow small organizations access to digitizing they otherwise could not afford
  • increase the exposure of small organizations
  • increase access to records significant to Ontario's heritage
  • allow an income stream to heritage organizations if they wish so that it can provide a Canadian not-for-profit portal as an alternative to foreign commercial portals
The OGS is working with Ristech Company Inc., a Burlington, Ontario company that specializes in scanning equipment.

OGS President, Don Hinchley, said, "I believe this grant will give many more genealogists throughout Ontario and the world access to materials without the necessity of travelling to the museum or local archive."

This project will help protect the culture and heritage of Ontario, some of which is in delicate condition and could be lost if it is not copied.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dundurn Press & OGS Make A Joint Announcement

Dundurn Press and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) have formed a joint imprint to publish books on Canadian genealogy. The announcement was made through a press release dated December 22, 2008.

The imprint will be called OGS Dundurn, and will be overseen by representatives from both organizations. OGS will be responsible for finding authors, receiving manuscripts, and the initial screening. Both organizations will be responsible for marketing - the OGS with the genealogical community, and Dunburn to bookstores.

Kirk Howard, President and Publisher, Dundurn Press, said, "As a long-time member of the OGS, I have admired the many ways in which the OGS connects with the genealogical community. In working together to publish books of genealogy significance, we will build on this success and be able to reach a wider readership."

Don Hinchley, OGS President, said, "Our partnership with Dundurn Press will provide those in the genealogy community with new resource material. We hope to encourage new authors through this partnership."

Dundurn Press has published books for over 35 years, and the OGS is the largest genealogical organization in the country, with over 4,500 members in 31 Branches across Ontario.

Anyone interested in publishing with the new imprint should contact the OGS at

Ottawa writer, June Coxon, wrote about Dundurn Press after she interviewed them at the OGS Conference '08, held last May in London, Ontario. The story is found at

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Victoria, BC Digitizes Newspaper

The first 100,00 digitalized pages (from 1858 to 1910) of the Times Colonist (known earlier as the Daily Colonist), the newspaper which serves Victoria, British Columbia is now on the Internet at

The press release says that "It is sure to become one of the most important resources for historical researchers throughout the province. It has the potential to open up many new doors in historical writing, help genealogists trace their family trees and learn about their ancestors, and even the way that history in taught in our schools".

They have the following information on the site -

- Birth, marriage and death information

- References to anniversaries, business openings and school reports

- List of passengers arriving in Victoria (the federal government did not keep records until 1905)

Dave Obee, an editor at the newspaper and the one who spearheaded the project, was at a conference in Ottawa this past summer. I had the opportunity to meet him and discuss the project with him. You can go to his site at

He is one-half of the team that wrote the book, Finding Your Canadian Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide and he will give various talks at the Ontario Genealogical Society this summer in Oakville on May

This project was made possible with the help of University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, and the Greater Victoria Public Library.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This fall, I have had a few articles published which you might find interesting to read -

Everton's Genealogical Helper
(Nov/Dec) - This article, "Canada Remembers the Arrival of American Loyalists in 1783", celebrates their 225th anniversary, which was commemorated throughout Canada this year.

Internet Genealogy
- The Dec/Jan edition will feature an interesting article entitled, "Chinese-Canadian Records", written after I met the librarian of the Vancouver Public Library, Janet Tomkins, at the International Federation of Librarian Association (IFLA) Conference held this August at the Library and Archives Canada.

Family Chronicle - In the Nov/Dec issue is an article called, "A Genealogy Education". It is about getting a education in genealogy, and quotes such people as George Morgan, Dear Myrtle, and Chris Paton, who recently got his Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.

"Columns" - The latest in-house issue of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors' (ISFHWE) newsletter, "Columns", will be out in December. It will be my usual column, this time entitled, "A Basket Full of Conferences", in which I talk about the Irish Symposium in November and the British Island Family History Society Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) Conference in September of this year. Both were held at the Library and Archives Canada.

November's "NewsLeaf" - The newsletter of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), "NewsLeaf", arrived a week or so ago and, as usual, it was a pleasure to edit!

Some of the articles are the first of two articles by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh on the "No Longer Hidden: Recording the Caribbean Presence in Canada", "Some History on the Beginnings of the Ontario Genealogical Society" by Ross W. Irwin, and "Burial Records for Jewish Cemeteries Across Ontario" by Shelley Stillman.

Plus lots of news on the OGS and meetings and special events which will take place in Ontario this winter and summer!

December 2008 "e-NewsLeaf" - I also edit the OGS' "e-NewsLeaf". Right now I am working on the December issue, which will be sent out to OGS members December 15th.

Some of the topics to be covered will be "Canadian 'PaperofRecord' Sold to Google", "Immigration to Canada", and there will be photos and a short write-up of the opening of the new office/library in Brant County.

And, of course, there is always the blog!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Canadian Genealogist Dies in Scotland

Yesterday afternoon (Monday, October 27th, 2008), Don Hinchley, President of the Ontario Genealogy Society (OGS), wrote to tell a number of us that Paul McGrath, the genealogist on "Ancestors in the Attic", has died in Scotland.

He was the chair of the Toronto Branch, and had given many talks around Ontario on genealogy.

He died last Wednesday of a heart attack.

People who attended Conference '09 in London, Ontario this year heard him give a couple of seminars and the talk at the supper on "Ancestors in the Attic".

This blog send its condoldances to his family for thier personal loss, and to the genealogists of Canada, for they have lost a great family historian.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society <> was founded in 1969, and today it is a society with 20 branches throughout the province.

It has done yeoman's work in providing genealogical information on Saskatchewan residents such as the Saskatchewan Residence Index, the Saskatchewan Homestead Index, and the Cemeteries Index.

The organization will be 40 years old in 2009, and as part of its anniversary, it plans to publish a book called the Women Pioneers of Saskatchewan.

But they need more people to submit write-ups of up to 2,000 words and two pictures on each of the women who will be included in the book. If you have Saskatchewan females, and have sent anything in to them - won't you consider sending in their life story, and have it published in a book? The deadline is January 2009.

The president of the society was in London this past spring at the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) Conference this spring to get an idea of how Ontario did its conference. She was very pleased with what she found, with the way it was organized, and in fact has invited some of the people who gave lectures in London to give talks in Saskatchewan.

The 2009 Conference will be held from April 23rd to April 26th, and this year they have invited Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada; Louise St. Denis, Managing Director of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies; and Dick Eastman of Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter fame.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

OGS has established SIG Irish Palatine Group

The Ontario Genealogical Society <> has established its first Special Interest Group (SIG) - the Irish Palatine Interest Group. It will be organized and have the same status as a branch but will not be tied to a specific geographical region. Because it is considered as a branch, the number of branches increases to 31 from 30, and you can get to it by going on the "Branches" section at the top of the first page of the OGS website.

The Palatines were Protestants who left the German Palatinate in 1709 (their 300th anniversary will be next year) at the invitation of Queen Anne of England. They settled in various British colonies, and 185 families settled in Ireland.

Beginning in the 1830s, many of the Irish Palatine moved to Canada, especially Ontario. Those people with surnames such as Heck, Embury, Dolmage, Switzer, Sparling, Fizzel, Teskey, Lawrence, Barkman, and Ruckle.

As the SIG-IP (Special Interest Group - Irish Palatine) is open to any person who sees value in exploring the common heritage of German language, Protestant religion, migration to Ireland, and many ties of marriage to other Irish Palatine families.

As a SIG-IP group within the OGS, the group will develop regular communications with its members - including a website*. It will offer opportunities for sessions at the annual OGS conference and will produce occasional publications to inform its members of Irish Palatine history and genealogy.

It has taken quite a while to set up the group because I first reported on this group in the July 2008 edition of the NewsLeaf (Vol 38, No 3 p. 52).

The OGS is interested in forming other SIGs and seeks suggestions. They hold the library of the now-defunct Huguenot Society of Canada, and they would like to form a Huguenot SIG. The Huguenots were French Protestants who were expelled from France.

For information on this or to suggest other SIGs, email the office at <>.

* They currently have a website "Irish Palantines" which celebrates their 300th Anniversary at <>. But they will have a new website which will reflect their statue as the new SIG-IP.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Conference - BIFHSGO

I plan to attend the 14th annual conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa <> September 19th to 21st at the Library and Archives Canada - it will be a weekend of meeting old friends and of learning new information about to research my family tree.

The first event which I will attend will be on Friday morning, and is an Intermediate Course in Genealogy sponsored jointly by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society <> and BISFHGO.

That evening, I will attend the Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture and listen to guest speaker, Sherry Irvine, and her talk about "Genealogy with Wings: Reflections of a Family Historian in an Age of Techo-enthusian".

This talk is open to the public (free of charge), is usually very good, and is an excellent entry way into genealogy for the new researcher.

On Saturday, I will visit the marketplace to see what is new and will listen to lectures given by Jeffrey Murray, "Terra Nostra: The Stories Behind Canada's Maps 1550-1950"; Marian Press, "Genealogy 2.0: What Do I Need to Know", and on Sunday, I will listen to Alison Hare, "Citations for Genealogical Sources". There will be a panel discussion on genealogy.

I will report back on the conference next week - just to let you know how it went.