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Toronto Branch monthly meetings are an opportunity to learn and to meet with fellow members. Most meetings have an hour-long presentation as well as a 10-minute presentation from one of our members. Meetings are normally held the fourth Monday of the month in the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall,  5120 Yonge Street, Toronto, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Researching and Sharing Your Family’s Social History
Feb 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Researching and Sharing Your Family’s Social History @ Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Speaker: Barbara J. Starmans Researching and Sharing Your Family’s Social History

As a genealogist, don’t you wish that you could draw up a chair by the fire at your ancestor’s house and have a cup of tea with them? Don’t you long to ask them not just the who, when or where questions, but the more important questions of how and why? By exploring the social history of their time and place, you will be able to research all the circumstances of your ancestors’ lives and to build their stories from the details you find.

Mini-presentation: Valerie Watt: Britain’s Genetic Map Reveals its Regional History


St Patrick’s Day Riots of 1858
Mar 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. David Wilson: The St Patrick’s Day Riots of 1858

Ethno-religious street fighting, a corrupt police force, rabble-rousing Councilmen, class conflict within both the Protestant and Catholic Irish communities, and a murder mystery — the St Patrick’s Day riots open up a world that has largely been forgotten by the present-day inhabitants of Toronto.  It was from these riots that the revolutionary Irish Fenian Brotherhood emerged in Canada. Three of the young Irish Catholics who were living in Toronto on that day went on to become some of the leading Irish revolutionaries in the world.

The award-winning historian and General Editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, David A. Wilson, brings to life these events and explores their significance.

Mini-presentation: Sheelagh Hysenaj: It all started with My Great Uncle’s WWI Helmet

(Mis)Adventures in Genealogy
Apr 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: Susan Reid: (Mis)Adventures in Genealogy–Labyrinth, Maze or Rabbit-hole?

Family history research is often fraught with missing or erroneous records, and findings that seem to conflict with oral family history. What’s a genealogist to do? Sometimes it’s a question of finding direction signs and guideposts. What lesser-used sources might help shed light? What value are DNA tests? Is there value in joining a Family History Society where an ancestor lived?

Mini-presentation: Richard Yeardye: From rags to riches – a Home Child success story

Research techniques for the family historian
May 30 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Research techniques for the family historian @ Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall | 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 session she will talk about the ways the digital revolution has transformed the way she researches and writes her books, and will share her methods for making the most of your time and research budget when delving into your family history.


Annual General Meeting

The Search for Alban Leaf
Jun 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Search for Alban Leaf @ Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall | 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), takes us from manorial records and parish registers in Yorkshire, to Faculty Office marriage license allegations at Lambeth Palace and an ancient church in Smithfield, to manors in rural Essex, and to intriguing records of inheritance in all locations.

Special attention is paid to search techniques—understanding what records might exist, how their location may be influenced by geography and changes in custody, and casting a wider net to compensate for missing records. The presentation features several of the wonderful online finding aids and digitizing projects available to UK searchers, as well as on-the-cobbles research.

Mini-presentation: Stephen Low The Ladies of Loughborough

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 research odyssey and uses family oral history (and misinformation), all the usual and some not-so-usual documents, the patient advice of the late Ryan Taylor, a remarkable but puzzling Y-DNA test, and the power of autosomal DNA testing and segment matching.