The Ontario Genealogical Society <www.ogs.on.ca> 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 <email@example.com>.
* They currently have a website "Irish Palantines" which celebrates their 300th Anniversary at <http://web.mac.com/bobfizzell/iWeb/Bob%27sHome/IrishPalatinesHome.html>. But they will have a new website which will reflect their statue as the new SIG-IP.