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April Meeting

Our April Toronto Branch meeting will take place on Monday 25 April starting at 7:30 pm. If you can, come a little early—there will be family history poster presentations starting at 7:00 pm, courtesy of the Branch Members Network. This will be the first Branch meeting at our new venue—Eglinton St George’s United Church at 35 Lytton Blvd in North Toronto.

ESGFor those who haven’t yet had an opportunity to visit, Eglinton St George’s is located a block west of Yonge Street between Eglinton and Lawrence Avenues. It is a short bus-ride or a reasonable walking distance from either the Eglinton or Lawrence subway station. If you are driving, there is some local street parking and there are three “Green P” parking lots close by. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful new location.

Our featured speaker at the April meeting will be Branch member Susan Reid who will tackle some of the trials and tribulations of family history in her talk, (Mis)Adventures in Genealogy–Labyrinth, Maze or Rabbit-hole? When you come across missing records, conflicting dates, name changes or accounts that just don’t match up with the evidence, what’s a genealogist to do?

During our mid-meeting break, you’ll have an opportunity to mingle with other members and guests, and drop by our information tables to find out about Branch activities and volunteer openings. We’ll close out the evening with a short presentation by Branch Chair Richard Yeardye titled From rags to riches—a Home Child success story.

Please note that this meeting will not be live-streamed. We hope many of you will be able to join us in person. We expect to resume live-streaming our monthly meetings as of May.

To find out what’s in store for future Branch meetings, please visit our Meetings page or browse through our Calendar.

Britain Street Mystery

Readers of the Toronto Star newspaper may have spotted an unusual notice in the front section on April 5 from the Ontario Registrar of Burial Sites advising of the discovery of a burial site in the heart of the city’s downtown. It turns out that a plumbing crew working on renovations in the basement of a property on the south side of Britain Street, near Richmond Street East, recently stumbled upon human remains that could be more than two centuries old. According to the notice:

The archaeological investigation revealed remains from three individuals, and a potential fourth, all of Euro-Canadian origin. Two disturbed coffins are present, each containing partial human remains, and the partial remains of a third individual, assessed as a juvenile, have also been recovered. The investigation has also uncovered one intact coffin, which may also contain human remains.

The notice drew media attention, and CityNews aired a full television report on the “burial mystery”, featuring an interview with Toronto Branch member Diane Clendenan.

The site of the discovery is near the edge of the Duchess Street Burial Ground, an early  cemetery that was closed to burials by 1850 following the establishment of the Toronto Necropolis. In the 1830s, the burial ground was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, but it was not always Presbyterian and it appears to date back to before the start of the 19th century. While we don’t yet know whether the coffins just found were originally from the Duchess Street Burial Ground, this is not the first time that human remains have turned up during excavations near the historic site. You can find out more about this small but intriguing pioneer burial ground on our Project blog.

Sketch of burial ground location

Sketch of lots 5 and 4 on the north side of Duchess Street (now Richmond Street East) and the gore between the lots that was the burial ground. The encroachment by the cemetery on Lot 5 is shown with a dotted line. (Congregational minutes of Knox Church, page 105, March 3, 1849, Archives of Ontario, microfilm GS 6334)

The Registrar has given notice of the intention to declare the site a “burial ground” and has invited “representatives” of the persons whose remains are interred to contact her by April 26 at:

Nancy Watkins, Registrar of Burial Sites
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
777 Bay St., 2nd floor
Toronto M5G 2C8
Telephone: 416-212-7499
FAX: 416-327-8406

If you have any information that may relate to the Britain Street discovery, please also consider sharing it with the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Cemeteries Committee, which monitors news about unregistered burial grounds.

Toronto Branch Meetings

May
30
Mon
7:30 pm Research techniques for the fami...
Research techniques for the fami...
May 30 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Research techniques for the family historian @ Eglinton St George's United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Speaker: Jennifer Robson: Research techniques for the family historian International bestselling author Jennifer Robson is a former Commonwealth Scholar and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and holds a D Phil in Modern History from the University of Oxford. At this[...]
Jun
27
Mon
7:30 pm The Search for Alban Leaf
The Search for Alban Leaf
Jun 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Search for Alban Leaf @ Eglinton St George's United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Speaker: Jane MacNamara: The Search for Alban Leaf This presentation demonstrates the use of many English record types—in a period well before census and civil registration. The search for the subject of this case history, Londoner Alban Leaf (1681-1756),[...]
Sep
26
Mon
7:30 pm I’m not a Jones, but what am I?
I’m not a Jones, but what am I?
Sep 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Speaker: Paul Jones I‘m not a Jones, but what am I? The story of researching two successive generations of patrilineal illegitimacy to identify the hitherto unknown fathers and my “true” surname. This account involves a 25-year[...]

Courses starting & Workshops

Jun
3
Fri
all-day Spadina’s Austin Family and the ...
Spadina’s Austin Family and the ...
Jun 3 all-day
Spadina's Austin Family and the Great War @ Spadina Museum | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
A FULL-DAY PROGRAM OFFERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH OGS CONFERENCE 2016. Bus leaves the International Plaza Hotel, 655 Dixon Road at 8:45 am. If it is more convenient for you to join the group at Spadina[...]

Other Events

Jun
3
Fri
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[...]

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 findmypast.com and purchase Dell computer products at special rates?