Toronto Branch is entirely staffed by volunteers. We rely on our members to volunteer their time and effort to organize and promote Branch meetings and workshops, maintain the Branch website and social media communications, respond to queries, contribute to and produce our newsletter Toronto Tree, develop and sell Branch publications, coordinate and work on our special projects, serve on the Branch Executive Committee, and much more… Without our volunteers, we simply would not exist.
Why volunteer with Toronto Branch?
Some of the many rewards of volunteering include:
- the ability to use your individual skills and experience to benefit others
- the satisfaction of being able to contribute to and expand Toronto research resources
- a closer connection with Branch operations and the opportunity to assist in steering future Branch initiatives
- a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of Toronto records and repositories
- the opportunity to share ideas, breakthroughs and brick walls with fellow family historians
Current volunteer opportunities
How can you help? Toronto Branch is always in need of volunteers to help with transcription and indexing work – to find out what we’re working on at the moment and how you can contribute, visit our Projects page. In addition, we are currently seeking members who would like to take on the following tasks:
Executive Committee Members
Executive Committee members are usually elected at Annual General Meetings (AGMs), but as needed, members are appointed between AGMs as vacancies arise. Becoming an Executive Committee member is a fulfilling way in which to use your skills and interests to help sustain and improve Branch services for fellow members. The camaraderie is rewarding too!
If you would be interested in finding out about the various Executive Committee roles and discussing how you could contribute your energy and talents to the future success of the Branch, please e-mail our Nominating Committee Chair Diana Thomson.
Indexing Coordinator – TONI Project
- To recruit, encourage and assist volunteers to index Branch holdings, both hard copy and electronic, for The Ontario Name Index, an OGS initiative. Summer students may also be recruited.
- To liaise with the Provincial TONI Coordinator.
Qualifications: A working knowledge of Excel is required in order to instruct indexers who are not familiar with it – and also to convert spreadsheets to Excel if indexers are using other programs.
Background: The Ontario Name Index (known as TONI ) is an OGS initiative and aims to include all databases containing Ontario names. TONI will be a mega-index to aim people in the right direction to locate information about their person of interest in Ontario. The location may be a Branch document, a web site, a microfilm, a family history, an archive, etc. TONI is an indexing program and NOT a digitization program.
TONI Indexing Instructions are provided with all the information needed by volunteers to begin working. Most volunteers will use MS Excel but other spreadsheets and databases can be used. Volunteers should confirm compatibility with their Branch Coordinator and the Provincial Coordinator first.
Audio-Visual (AV) Support Team Members
The overall goal of this team is to provide audio-visual support for presenters at the Branch’s meetings, special lectures, workshops and courses. The majority of presenters use PowerPoint presentations. The Branch is planning to live-stream presentations at meetings in 2015.
Equipment involved includes projectors, computers, screens, and wireless microphones.
Members are free to choose roles that best suit their skills, interests and time constraints. The goal is to have a number of team members so that work assignments are shared.
Examples of roles available include:
- Maintenance of an updated inventory of AV equipment.
- Arrangements for equipment storage, repair and maintenance.
- Equipment set-up and take-down at events.
- Trouble-shooting during presentations.
- Manning a camera for live-streaming.
- Manning a wireless microphone during interactive sessions.
- Controlling the sound system for live streaming.
- Controlling the computer system for live streaming.
Training will be provided!
Education Committee Members
The Education Committee is responsible for the design, planning and implementation of all courses, workshops and other related educational events on behalf of Toronto Branch.
A variety of roles need filling at any particular time and so prospective recruits are bound to find roles which suit their skills, interests and time constraints.
Examples of roles available include:
- Monitoring trends in family history research, and identifying topics and speakers of interest to members.
- Managing online registrations.
- Recording minutes of meetings.
- Maintenance of Committee records.
- Promoting Branch and third-party events using a variety of methods (website, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc).
- Poster/flyer design.
- Manning the Welcome desk at events.
- Managing event catering.
- Survey design/analysis of members’ interests.
- Liaison with key partners (e.g. libraries, archives, other groups).
- Chairing the Committee.
For further information, please e-mail the Education Committee Chair Jean McNulty.
Special Interest Group Coordinator
The overall goal of this newly-created position is to provide support for the formation and maintenance of Special Interest Groups (SIGs).
- Establishment and maintenance of listings of members with specific research interests.
- Development of a list of resources for SIGs (for example, venue options).
- Facilitation of communication between members with shared research interests (for example, host a meeting for a prospective group).
- Further development of guidelines for success for groups.
- Recruitment of group facilitators as necessary.
- Serving as the liaison between established groups and the Executive Committee.
- Reporting to the membership about SIGs and their success stories.
Once established, this position is estimated to require one to two days of work monthly. It would best suit someone living in the GTA.
Mentors for New (and Not-so-New) Members
Are you knowledgeable about a particular subject area as a result of your experience doing family research? Would you be willing to share your knowledge, one on one, with a fellow member? The ideal candidate as a mentor will be a Branch member with a passion and good knowledge level of his/her particular subject area – a hobbyist family historian/researcher. (Members requiring expert advice/assistance will continue to be encouraged to engage the services of professional genealogists/researchers.) The subject area need not be anything directly to do with genealogy, yet it could be invaluable in helping others to explore their ancestors’ life experiences – early home life, work, wars, emigration and so on.
For example, you might consider yourself quite knowledgeable about settling in the Ottawa Valley, or a particular military campaign, or working in a cotton mill in Yorkshire.
Toronto Branch is presently endeavouring to compile and maintain a list of mentors who would be ready, willing and able to share their expertise with fellow Branch members. We have our New Members Special Interest Group to thank for identifying a Mentorship Program as a priority need. We think that this initiative will be equally valued by ‘not-so-new’ members too!
If you would like to participate in this initiative, please forward the following information to the Toronto Branch Mentorship Program Coordinator, Heather Ioannou:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Your favourite subject area(s)
Your contact information will NOT be published anywhere. Members who wish to avail themselves of your expertise will send an email to Heather who will then pass along the query to the appropriate mentor who will then make their own arrangements to connect with the person making the enquiry.
If you think you might be able to take on one of the positions listed above that does not have specific contact information, or if you are interested in volunteering for Toronto Branch but in another capacity, please email our Volunteer Coordinator. We’ll do our best to match you to a job that suits your skills, interests, location and schedule!