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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.

The Widow Cathy Brown: Proving a Family Story
Sep 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: Guylaine Pétrin

Cathy Brown’s life went through upheavals because of the actions of the men in her life.  While most of the facts of her life are found in the records of her menfolk, Cathy did take matters in her own hands.  As a result, the story of her life can be told via both public records, but also an oral story that survived for five generations.  Both archival records and oral history tell the tales of this strong women who had to re-invent herself and fight two governments.

Mini-presentation: Pat Javor  A Smuggler, a Shipwreck and Mrs. Heron

Archives of Ontario: What’s in it for me?
Oct 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Archives of Ontario: What's in it for me? @ Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Speaker: Jane MacNamara

The Archives of Ontario is a rich source for family history. You can find records of birth, marriage, death, and divorce, land records, and estate files, but that’s just scratching the surface. There is only a handful of records that are indexed by name online. The rest must be found using online and on-site finding aids. This presentation will help you understand how archival records are organized and “described” and demonstrate how you can get the most from the AO’s Archive Descriptive Database. There will be “insider” tips for both new and seasoned researchers–and many techniques will be applicable to any modern archives.

Mini-presentation: Irena Lewycka and Dawn Connolly: Self-Publish your Family History or Memoirs at the Toronto Reference Library using Asquith Press Book Printing Service
Learn about Toronto Reference Library’s new book printing service that lets you design and print bookstore quality paperback books.
Self-publish your own family history, memoir, cookbook, novel or journal (colour cover and black & white pages) at the library with Asquith Press.



Great Moments in Genealogy
Nov 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Members’ five-minute presentations on “great moments” in their genealogy research

Barry Spinner : Determining my ancestor’s homeland and village through perseverance – before the Internet

Donna Di Lello : My Cousins Lynn

Sue Reid : Hide-and-Go Seek with Great-Great-Granny

C. Michael Schmitz : A Search for Truth, Family and Identity: My ultimate Why!

Greg Marlatt : Where is my Y-Chromosome Taking Me? – Fact to Fantasy

Marian Press : Did my 3X Great-Aunt Really Run Away With Her Music Teacher?

Cathy McNamara : I think he’s mine, I think he’s mine…but how do I know for sure?

Paul Jones : Oy vey iz mir: One Anglo’s adventure in Jewish research 

Marion Wilburn : Hannah the Butcher (Manchester, England)

Don Hall : Good Golly Miss Molly…where did you come from?

Jean McNulty : Searching for the Upton Family 


A Personal Journey through Canada’s earliest mental health facilities
Jan 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
A Personal Journey through Canada's earliest mental health facilities @ Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Speaker: Victoria Fenner.

Victoria made a remarkable and surprising discovery while tracking down her family tree.  She discovered that her great great grandmother was a patient in three of Canada’s earliest asylums.  She is digging through archives, old newspapers and writings between 1858 and 1901 to find out what life was like in these asylums, the people who lived there, the staff who took care of them, and how the politics and social life of the day affected the treatment of people with mental health challenges.

Victoria is a documentary producer and journalist who is working on a documentary about early mental health care in Ontario.

Mini-presentation: Donna Di Lello Writing Your Memoirs: it’s hard to do after you are dead

February Meeting
Feb 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: To be announced


Mini-presentation: Ken Godfrey War and Remembrance: Three Brothers in WW I

March Meeting
Mar 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: To be announced


Mini-presentation: Sue de Groot Marriage on the Canals of Amsterdam

April Meeting
Apr 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: Bonnie Bell

To be announced

Mini-presentation: To be announced

Dead and Buried
May 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: Sue de Groot

Deaths produce many records—death registration, obituary, burial, cemetery, tombstone records, etc.
This presentation demonstrates why to collect all records and what information they hold.


June Meeting
Jun 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Speaker: To be announced


Mini-presentation: Patricia Blackstock 1837 Rebellion – York Region