An organization of family historians, some with Toronto roots, others who live in Toronto, we have ancestors around the world.

Calendar

Sep
25
Mon
Jumping the Pond: Finding my Home in Ireland
Sep 25 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Jumping the Pond: Finding my Home in Ireland @ Attend in person or register for online webinar. | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

“Jumping the pond is the act of connecting your family lines (from anywhere but for this presentation, mainly from the American continent) to your Ancestors’ country of, county of, or village of birth on the other side of the Atlantic/Pacific.” – Google Definition

Through family lore and discussions, a family believes its origins are “Scots” or Scots-Irish. But from a genealogy perspective, the paper trail points to an Irish origin for the family. Fast forward to the introduction of DNA and low and behold, the meager paper trail is confirmed. Join us as we travel with the Templeton family from the Americas across the pond to discover their true origins.

Mags Gaulden is a professional genealogist specializing in genetic genealogy as founder of Grandma’s Genes in Ottawa. Growing up in a family full of family historians, Mags was primed to become a genealogist. After earning her Bachelors Degree from Columbia College, she began to work her own genealogy as a “hobby”. This 30-year “hobby” eventually led her to a leader role with WikiTree, where she currently leads: the DNA Innovators Project, the United Empire Loyalist Project and the British Home Children Project. She also leads the Templeton and McElmoyle Name Studies and the McElmoyle DNA Project. Work with WikiTree led to Mags starting Grandma’s Genes in 2016. Mags is an international genetic genealogy lecturer, blogger and a social media maven. She serves as admin for Facebook groups including the ISOGG Facebook Group. She is a former member of the Canadian Casualty Identification Team.

Opening Act: Join us on site from 7:00 to 8:00 pm for members’ show-and-tell displays of genealogical projects.
Main presentation: Mags Gaulden will speak on site at 8:00 pm. The presentation will also be live streamed.

This will be a hybrid meeting. Please join us in person at 7:00 pm at Lansing United Church. No need to register. Or watch the presentation live online starting at 8:00 pm. Click here to register for the webinar and get your unique Zoom link.

Oct
23
Mon
Ontario’s Municipal Records
Oct 23 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Ontario’s Municipal Records @ Attend in person or register for online webinar. | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

7:00 pm Genealogy Swap and Socialize
Do you have genealogy or local history books that need a new home? Share them at our October “Swap Table”. Bring a beverage (non alcoholic) and we’ll provide treats to enjoy while chatting and perusing what “swap” items might be helpful in your research. (Please be prepared to take home any of your items that don’t catch someone’s eye.)

7:30 pm Presentation
Ontario’s municipal history is complex. Finding municipal records is even more complex, yet they contain significant genealogical and historical information. This talk, by Dr Fraser Dunford, author of Municipal Records in Ontario, covers the history and growth of Ontario municipalities, the sorts of records municipalities kept, and where you may find these records.

Dr Fraser Dunford is a professional engineer and was formally an academic and university administrator. He has been involved in genealogy for about 40 years, has written six books and many articles, has often been on radio, has chaired genealogical conferences, and has spoken to many genealogical meetings in Canada. He is the webmaster for the site FindingPhotographers, coordinates the Dunford mailing list, manages the Dunford/Danford/Durnford website at the Guild of One Name Studies, and is settler sheet co-ordinator and TONI co-ordinator for Kawartha Branch of the OGS. He has the Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (Canadian and English specialties) from the International Institute of Genealogical Studies.

This will be a hybrid meeting. Please join us in person at Lansing United Church. Or watch the presentation live online. Click here to register for the webinar and get your unique Zoom link.

Nov
9
Thu
Understanding Ontario’s Crown Land Records
Nov 9 @ 7:30 pm
Understanding Ontario's Crown Land Records @ THREE-SESSION ONLINE COURSE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Three-session online course:
7:30 pm to about 9:00 pm
November 9, 16 and 23, 2023
$30 OGS members / $35 non-members

This online course will focus on the process involved in acquiring (or attempting to acquire) land from the Crown in early Upper Canada, and the records that were generated. Understanding the process is key to navigating the complicated but wonderfully rich set of records. An astounding quantity of material from the late 18th and early 19th centuries has survived and is now available free online, on microfilm at the Archives of Ontario, or by interloan. We’ll look at several big indexes to collections at the Archives of Ontario and Library and Archives Canada, and digitized records on FamilySearch, Canadiana, and at LAC.

There will be homework! Please plan on time between classes for a little online reading and to check out some suggested websites. Each session, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time, but for the most benefit, please try to participate in the live Zoom session. Space is limited. Register early to reserve your spot!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.


Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, is the author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians (OGS/Dundurn) and writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca. A long time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for Toronto Branch OGS, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.

Nov
27
Mon
Great Moments in Genealogy
Nov 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Great Moments in Genealogy @ Attend in person or register for online webinar. | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

In keeping with our November, last-meeting-of-the-year tradition, Toronto Branch members will be sharing “great moments” in their family history research in a series of short, inspiring and frequently humorous presentations.

We look forward to this meeting all year!

Here is the roster:

Beth Adams: “It’s A Small World After All”

Ann Brown: “Together in Toronto”

Dawn Kelly: “Joah Earnshaw—Death in a Yorkshire Coal Mine”

Elayne Lockhart: “Think your family history is finished? DNA testing may prove you wrong”

Michael Nettleton: “On The Trail of Agnes of Strathwhairn”

Melanie Parker: “A man may not marry his brother’s wife”

Linda Reid: “What about their mother?”

Carol Ufford: “Hunting for Treasure on the LAC Website”

This will be a hybrid meeting. You are welcome to join us in person at Lansing United Church. Or watch the presentation live online. Click here to register for the webinar and get your unique Zoom link.

Jan
22
Mon
The Road Ahead: A Genealogical Pot-Pourri
Jan 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Road Ahead: A Genealogical Pot-Pourri @ ONLINE WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

The past few years have given family historians more change than ever before—and the rate of transformation is bound to increase in the years to come. Genealogists need to be ready. How do we do that? Easy!

Remember the basics of genealogical research, and live them every time you work on your ancestral challenges. Do not—repeat, do not—be fooled or distracted by the latest bright shiny things, which could be online trees, new websites or documents manipulated by artificial intelligence.

Speaker Dave Obee is Editor and Publisher of the Times Colonist daily newspaper in Victoria, British Columbia. He has been a journalist since 1972, working in British Columbia and Alberta. He has been researching his family history since 1978, and has written a dozen books on genealogy and local history. He has given more than 700 presentations at genealogical conferences and seminars in Canada, the United States and Australia since 1997. Dave was a member of the services consultation committee at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa for four years.

The University of Victoria has awarded Dave with an honorary doctorate of laws for his work as a historian, genealogist and journalist. He is also the university’s honorary librarian and archivist.

Dave’s father has roots in England and Ireland. His mother was born in a German colony in Volhynia, in the northwest corner of Ukraine.

This will be an online presentation.  Click here to register for the webinar and get your unique Zoom link.

Jan
25
Thu
Members-Only Pop-up
Jan 25 @ 7:30 pm
Members-Only Pop-up @ ONLINE WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

This year’s first members-only pop-up presentation about FTDNA with a guest speaker Katy Rowe-Schurwanz is scheduled for January 25, at 7:30 pm. Toronto Branch members were sent all the details and the Zoom link by email on January 17.

If it is not in your inbox, you can get the Zoom link by signing in to the Toronto Branch Members’ Only pages with your OGS password. Here’s the link: toronto.ogs.on.ca

To be eligible for this and other members-only events, join us! If you’re already an OGS member, you can add Toronto Branch for only $15.

Feb
15
Thu
Tips and Tricks for Reading Old Handwriting
Feb 15 @ 7:30 pm – Feb 22 @ 7:30 pm
Tips and Tricks for Reading Old Handwriting @ TWO-PART ONLINE COURSE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

7:30 pm to about 9:00 pm
February 15 and 22, 2024
$20 OGS members / $25 non-members

A two-part online course looking at how to solve the problems genealogists encounter when trying to read handwriting in old documents. The course will focus on handwriting in English from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The course leader will assign practice readings for the second class—yes, homework!

Once you are registered, you will have the opportunity to submit a hard-to-decipher document from your own research for expert help. Register and submit early to be considered.

The two sessions, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time for those who can’t participate in the live Zoom sessions. Space is limited. Register early to reserve your spot!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.


Diane C. Loosle is an Accredited Genealogist® and a Certified Genealogist®. She has a bachelor’s degree in history with an emphasis in family history and genealogy and an MBA. Recently, she retired from working for FamilySearch after almost 30 years, including being the director of the world-renowned FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City and the Senior Vice President over Global Help Services. She loves helping others learn and her passion for old handwriting came from her own family history experience of having to teach herself how to read old Chancery and Manorial Court records in England.

Feb
26
Mon
Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox
Feb 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox @ ONLINE WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Are overwhelmed with the number of online resources for genealogical research? Are you constantly working with unorganized bookmarks or favorites? Printing out lists of websites you use most? Learn how to build a research toolbox that is organized, easy-to-use, and can be accessed from almost anywhere.

Participants will learn not only some of the most important online resources for genealogical research, but also how to organize these resources into an easy-to-access and portable virtual toolbox.

Speaker Thomas MacEntee is an author, educator, student, advocate, marketer, storyteller, entrepreneur, and that “genealogy guy” who helps you accomplish your family history goals.

His passion for tracing his roots began over 45 years ago when he was watching the mini-series Roots on ABC Television at his great-grandparents’ house in February 1977. Before becoming a genealogy professional, Thomas worked in information technology

Thomas has taught over 1,000 in-person and virtual genealogy lectures since 2010, served on the boards of many genealogical societies, organized a group of over 1,000 genealogy bloggers, and helped countless researchers save money on genealogy products and services. His current mission is to change the way genealogists acquire new research skills, motivating researchers to take a chance on new technologies, and improving how family stories and heirlooms are preserved and passed on to the next generations.

BONUS PRESENTATION:
Grandpa’s Secret
Have you had difficulty figuring out where an ancestor came from between 1860 and 1940? Family lore was they came from the UK, but you can’t find any documents? This happened with Beth Adam’s husband’s grandfather. What was found was a family secret—he had been a British Home Child.

Speaker Beth Adams is a member of the Toronto Branch Education Committee (who is looking for new volunteers!) and presents frequently. She lives in Pembroke, Ontario and volunteers at her local museum and genealogy group. Scouting remains an important part of her life, as is spending time with family and friends at her family cottage.

These will be online presentations.  Click here to register for the webinar and get your unique Zoom link.

Feb
29
Thu
Members-Only Pop-up
Feb 29 @ 5:30 pm
Members-Only Pop-up @ ONLINE WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Join us for a Toronto Branch members-only pop-up presentation about Transkribus text-recognition software on February 29, at 5:30 pm. Toronto Branch members will be sent all the details and the Zoom link by email by about February 27.

If it is not in your inbox, you can get the Zoom link by signing in to the Toronto Branch Members’ Only pages with your OGS password. Here’s the link: toronto.ogs.on.ca

To be eligible for this and other members-only events, join us! If you’re already an OGS member, you can add Toronto Branch for only $15.

Mar
13
Wed
British Home Children in Canada’s History
Mar 13 @ 7:30 pm
British Home Children in Canada's History @ ONLINE LECTURE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

This webinar will explore the history of Home Children, boys and girls from the United Kingdom who were relocated to countries like Canada from the 1860s to the 1940s. Many of the children were orphans or from families who were facing financial difficulties and could not afford to raise them. Speaker Lori Oschefski will highlight their significance in Canada with a particular focus on Toronto—the largest receiving centre for Home Children in our country. She will provide you with the resources to help you research these children.

The webinar, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time for those who can’t participate in the live Zoom session. Space is limited. Register early to reserve your spot!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.


Speaker Lori Oschefski, President of Home Children Canada since 2010, passionately advocates for the rights and recognition of Home Children. Inspired by her own mother’s story as a Home Child, discovered in 2007, Lori is dedicated to raising awareness and has propelled the organization to global leadership. Through exceptional efforts, Home Children Canada has successfully reunited fractured families impacted by migration programs, making a profound impact on descendants discovering their connections to young child migrants.

Mar
25
Mon
Forensic Genealogy: The new frontier
Mar 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Forensic Genealogy: The new frontier @ ONLINE WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Forensic genealogy is a new buzz-word these days. But what exactly is forensic genealogy? How is it applied? Who needs a forensic genealogist and why? This talk will address these questions and provide some real-world examples. Hold on to your hats because what you learn will open Pandora’s Box!

Speaker Christine Cochran is a professional genealogist and owner of Forensic & Family Genealogy, LLC. She has been conducting genealogical research for more than 20 years. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and a past registrar for the Mountain Rendezvous Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution. In the past, she has held offices as president of the Colorado Chapter of APG, Vice-President and Researcher for the Colorado Genealogy Society, and delegate on the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies. She has served as the “On-the-Desk Genealogist” at the Denver Public Library—Western History and Genealogy Department, and as an indexer at the Colorado State Archives. She has conducted research for the popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” starring Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Christine has been interviewed by Genealogy TV, KGNU radio, and PBN radio. She has been published internationally in Irish Roots Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a Master’s degree from Regis University, and is a graduate of Professional Genealogists Study Groups (ProGen.) Drawing on a wide range of skills, Christine focuses on forensic genealogy for heirship cases, NSDAR applications, residential genealogies, and coaching clients with their own research.

OPENING ACT:
The Baton and the Little “Black” Box
Although Speaker Bonnie Bell has been researching her family history in earnest since the 1980s, it came as a shock to find family treasures that she hadn’t known existed. This is the tale of a small silver box and a policeman’s baton found amongst her late brother’s effects. We’ll learn the history of the silver box and how the baton connected to a dramatic front-page story in a prairie newspaper. This cautionary tale is for anyone thinking you’ve found it all. Family history and genealogy are never done.

These will be online presentations. Click here to register for the webinar and get your unique Zoom link.

Apr
22
Mon
Leveraging Handwriting Recognition Technology in Genealogy
Apr 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Our feature presentation, by Allison Lau and her team from Ancestry.ca, will be an overview of how Ancestry.com has developed Handwriting Recognition Technology to improve the customer experience of the 1931 Census of Canada. They will also provide updates on other products and services from Ancestry Canada.
Speaker Allison Lau is General Manager, Canada, for Ancestry.com

Opening Act:
When Family Treasures Turn Out to be Genealogical Road Signs
Marian Press owns only two pieces of family memorabilia from her ancestors: a much-treasured 19th-century sampler embroidered by her great-grandmother and two small school notebooks written as a (mandated) daily diary by this same great-grandmother’s brother while he was a pupil at Edinburgh’s Donaldson’s Hospital, a residential institution for poor “deaf and dumb” children. Both turned out to provide significant genealogical clues when the speaker began to research her family history.

The sampler and the notebooks will be available to view at the in-person meeting.

These will be hybrid presentations. No need to register if you are attending in person. To attend online, click here to register and get your unique Zoom link.

May
27
Mon
The Trial of William Brass
May 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Trial of William Brass @ Attend in person or register for online webinar. | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

In 1837, Carol Ufford’s third great uncle, William Brass, was charged with raping a young girl. His defense attorney was young John A. Macdonald. Using documents from the Haldimand collection, the Upper Canada Sundries, and contemporary newspapers, Carol will tell William’s story—his early life, what lead up to the trial, the trial, and the aftermath.

Warning: this presentation contains language and content that some may find disturbing.

Speaker Carol Ufford is a retired librarian and has been researching her family history for over 35 years. Her family has deep roots in Ontario, and she enjoys digging beyond the names and dates of her ancestors stories and learning about the lives they led. Carol is the current Toronto Branch Chair.

This will be a hybrid presentation. No need to register if you are attending in person. To attend online, click here to register and get your unique Zoom link.

Jun
3
Mon
Annual General Meeting
Jun 3 @ 7:00 pm

TORONTO BRANCH OGS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Access to the meeting is limited to current Toronto Branch members. If you are a member, please refer to the AGM package you received on May 15. It explains how to pre-register for the AGM and acquire your unique link to join the meeting.

For more information or if your AGM package doesn’t arrive, please click to contact us.

Jun
14
Fri
OGS Conference 2024—An Interactive Experience: Explore, Engage, Enjoy!
Jun 14 – Jun 16 all-day
OGS Conference 2024—An Interactive Experience: Explore, Engage, Enjoy! @ Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre

The Ontario Genealogical Society is holding its first in-person Conference in five years in Toronto—with the theme An Interactive Experience: Explore, Engage, Enjoy!

Conference 2024 runs from 14–16 June 2024 at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre near Pearson Airport, a fully accessible venue with lecture rooms, dining areas and vendor exhibits all under the same roof. A special event rate is available for Conference attendees wishing to stay at the hotel. Come early for “prequel” events on 13–14 June, including interactive workshops, tours of key Toronto research repositories and historic sites, and a full-day mini-conference on Artificial Intelligence and Genealogy, which is being presented both in-person and via live-stream.

The Conference weekend, which is in-person only, will be jam-packed with about 50 different sessions of varying lengths and formats, and more than 30 different speakers, including Blaine Bettinger, Paul Milner, Chris Paton, Jonny Perl, and Diahan Southard. Enjoy several special plenaries, including a lunchtime address by a familiar face from the stage and screen—Canada’s own R.H. Thomson.

All full weekend Conference registrants will automatically get access to Bonus Tracks—a special package of 18 additional pre-recorded sessions—most of which are not being offered live during Conference. This package is available for separate purchase for anyone unable to attend in person.

For full program details, registration options, and pricing, click here to visit the Conference website.

Please note that Conference attendees must register before June 1. Walk-in registration will not be possible.

Jun
24
Mon
Ontario’s Records of Inheritance on Family Search
Jun 24 @ 7:30 pm
Ontario’s Records of Inheritance on Family Search @ Attend in person or register for online webinar.

Are you ready to go beyond census and births, marriages, and deaths? Estate files are rich source for finding family connections and revealing our ancestor’s social and financial circumstances, maybe even personality. As court records, they tend to be very reliable—and even come with indexes.

Now that FamilySearch.org has digitized an extensive collection of Ontario surrogate court and Court of Probate records—we can discover these treasures from home.

This session will give a brief overview of how the court system worked in Ontario and a step-by-step explanation of how to access the records. It will concentrate on York County records available through FamilySearch.

Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, is the author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians (OGS/Dundurn) and writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca. A long time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for Toronto Branch, most notably hands-on courses at the Archives of Ontario.

OPENING ACT:
Toronto Branch member Helen Billing will present Why did they go to Australia? What did they do there?
A box of documents and memorabilia given to Helen Billing and her husband spurred them to research why Frederick and Edward Billing went to Western Australia in 1896. Letters, photos, mining certificates and some artifacts provided them with a basis for searching newspapers and other contemporary records. A trip to Kalgourlie/Boulder Archives added more information.

This will be a hybrid presentation. No need to register if you are attending in person. To attend online, click here to register and get your unique Zoom link.

Aug
6
Tue
The Toronto History Lecture
Aug 6 @ 7:30 pm
The Toronto History Lecture @ ONLINE LECTURE

THE 2024 TORONTO HISTORY LECTURE
Join us for the 13th Toronto History Lecture. This year’s lecture will be: Rebuilding the Body in WWI Toronto

Speaker: Kristen den Hartog

At the end of the First World War, wounded soldiers were coming home in huge numbers, and the country was scrambling for space to treat them all. By 1919, the Christie Street Hospital opened in a renovated cash register factory. Kristen den Hartog’s 2024 Toronto History Lecture gives us a glimpse of this fascinating place, of its diverse group of patients and staff, and the role it played in Toronto’s rich history.

The lecture is free, but registration is required. Click here for more information and to reserve your space online.

Sep
12
Thu
Understanding Ontario Land Registry Records
Sep 12 @ 7:30 pm – Sep 26 @ 7:30 pm
Understanding Ontario Land Registry Records @ THREE-SESSION ONLINE COURSE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Three-session online course:
September 12, 19 and 26, 2024

$35 OGS members / $40 non-members

Despite the 2020 closure of Land Registry Offices, Ontario land registry records are becoming more available than ever before—particularly for researchers at a distance. For those new to these records, words like lot, concession, plan, abstract index, and instrument can be confusing. But they are also crucial to locating a parcel of land and the records of ownership. This three-session course (back by popular demand) will focus on helping you understand how land is divided and identified in Ontario both historically and today.

The course will demonstrate sources to help you find your ancestor’s property description and then locate it on a map. We’ll also look at how you can use the property description to find the records of purchases and other transactions using OnLand.ca, FamilySearch.org, microfilmed records at the Archives of Ontario, and original records deposited at local archives. While Crown Land records and Land Titles will be covered briefly, the emphasis will be on Land Registry records.

There will be homework! Please plan on time between classes for a little online reading and to check out some suggested websites. Each session, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time, but for the most benefit, please try to participate in the live Zoom session.


Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, is the author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians (OGS/Dundurn) and writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca. A long time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for Toronto Branch OGS, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.

Space is limited. Click here to register for the course.

Sep
23
Mon
Money Talks: Translating Value Over Time
Sep 23 @ 7:30 pm
Money Talks: Translating Value Over Time @ Attend in person or register for online webinar.

Drew von Hasselbach’s great-great-granduncle bought a property in Ontario for 17 pounds and 10 shillings in 1837. But how much is that in today’s money? Drew was a reporter at the Financial Post for 20 years, and he’ll show you how to figure that out.

Speaker Drew von Hasselbach is a lawyer and journalist who has been doing genealogical research for more than 30 years. He received a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies in October 2022. He has experience researching records in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Germany and Eastern Europe. He reads English, French, German and Latin. Since 2017, Drew has been with Global news, where he is currently head of the copy desk, supervising a team of editors who review stories before publication on the web, and training reporters on news writing techniques. Outside of work, you might find him playing guitar with other journalists in the band Conrad Black Sabbath.

This will be a hybrid presentation. No need to register if you are attending in person. To attend online, click here to register and get your unique Zoom link.