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The Cemetery Beat

April showers bring… May shovels? As soon as the air begins to warm up, you can be sure that a dedicated band of Toronto Branch volunteers will be back at work again – uncovering and transcribing gravestones!

Our cemetery crew can usually be found at St James Cemetery, on Parliament Street just south of Bloor at the edge of the Don River Valley, on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings – outfitted with gardening gloves, picks, probes, shovels and notepads. Volunteers work together to locate plots according to cemetery maps and plot records. Sometimes this means getting down and dirty – especially when markers have been overgrown with sod or buried altogether. The next step is to decipher and write down the transcription on each stone. Some are poignant, some amusing, and some just puzzling – but they’re all fascinating. It’s a great way to spend a few hours!

Transcribers in St James Cemetery

Toronto Branch volunteers hard at work in St James Cemetery


Please contact us at if you’d like to join in the transcribing fun. We’ll confirm the exact location where we’re working and what you need to bring with you when you get in touch. If you would like to help with our St James indexing but aren’t able to come out to the cemetery in person, let us know that too. We have other volunteers who are hard at work typing up our cemetery notes and entering them into a searchable database. That database will be available sooner with your help!

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Toronto Branch Meetings

7:30 pm A Captain? My Captain?
A Captain? My Captain?
Oct 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
A GENEALOGICAL SUCCESS STORY Speakers: Elizabeth A. R. Kaegi and James F. S. Thomson Long ago, far away, in the middle of the Second World War, a baby boy was informally “adopted” by foreigners. A[...]
7:30 pm Great Moments in Genealogy
Great Moments in Genealogy
Nov 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
In keeping with tradition, ten Toronto Branch members will be sharing “great moments” in their genealogical research in a series of short presentations as follows: Jane Briant – My World-Wide Irish Family Barb Garrow –[...]

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Did you know?

That Toronto Branch OGS has more than 600 members? That members get a discount on publications, and course and workshop registration fees? And that Toronto Branch belongs to the Federation of Genealogical Societies, which means our members can also subscribe to at special rates?