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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 Putting Your Family Tree Online:...
Putting Your Family Tree Online:...
Oct 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Speaker: Marian Press: Putting Your Family Tree Online: What Choice Should You Make? There are now many choices for how to put your family information online for others to find, well beyond what was available[...]
7:30 pm Great Moments in Genealogy
Great Moments in Genealogy
Nov 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Members’ five-minute presentations on “great moments” in their genealogy research Douglas Hill: Finding A “Secret” Cousin Joan Beckley: Wearable Genealogy B C Holmes:  My Grandfather’s Research Was Too Large For the Shelf Stephen Low: Tracing in Both Directions[...]
7:30 pm And Now for Something Completely...
And Now for Something Completely...
Jan 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Speaker: Donna Di Lello And Now for Something Completely Different: charts have their place, but come learn some really creative ways to display your families, both beautiful and whimsical. Mini-presentation: Mary Williamson: My great-great grandfather was[...]

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Courses starting & Workshops

2:00 pm Basic Genealogy and Family Histo...
Basic Genealogy and Family Histo...
Oct 7 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Basic Genealogy and Family History - Day @ North York Central Library, Room 1 | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
This day-time course is on 8 Wednesdays: October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11, 25 and December 2 (no class on November 18).   The course is designed for those just beginning to research or[...]
9:30 am Atlantic Canada Genealogy Workshop
Atlantic Canada Genealogy Workshop
Oct 17 @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Atlantic Canada Genealogy Workshop @ North York Central Library, Auditorium, Room 1, Room 2/3 | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
This full day workshop is jointly sponsored by the Canadiana Department at the North York Central Library and the Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society. If you have ancestors who lived in any of the four[...]

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Other Events

all-day OGS Conference 2016: Genealogy o...
OGS Conference 2016: Genealogy o...
Jun 3 – Jun 5 all-day
OGS Conference 2016: Genealogy on the Cutting Edge @ International Plaza Hotel | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Toronto Branch will welcome hundreds of family historians to the largest genealogical conference in Canada. The event will be based at the International Plaza Hotel, close to Pearson International Airport, Highway 401, and with good[...]

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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 and purchase Dell computer products at special rates?