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March 2019 meeting

Our next Toronto Branch meeting will take place on Monday, March 25 starting at 7:30 pm at Lansing United Church in North York.

In the 17th century, hundreds of young French women were recruited to immigrate to New France and help to populate the new colony. Who were they? You might be surprised. Speakers Dawn Kelly and Carol Ufford have been researching Les Filles à Marier and Les Filles du Roi and have some fascinating tales to tell. Join us for The Bachelorette New France: Stories of Bigamy, Incest, Witchcraft and Murder. Speaker notes will be available through our new Members Only web pages.

After our mid-meeting break, we’ll enjoy a short talk by Larry Foreman titled A Courtship through Postcards. As usual, the Members Network will be gathering in advance of the main meeting, starting at 6:15 p.m.

Lansing United Church is located two blocks south-west of Sheppard and Yonge, at Poyntz Avenue and Beecroft Road (enter from Poyntz). It’s a short walk from the Sheppard-Yonge subway station, which also links to frequent bus service. If you are driving, parking on local streets is free after 6:00 p.m., and there are pay parking lots close by. The few spaces in the church parking lot are reserved for visitors with accessibility needs.

Toronto Branch meetings are free to attend and open to all. Visit our Meetings page to find out more.

Historic stone building

Maison Saint-Gabriel, museum and historic site in Pointe-Saint-Charles, Quebec, purchased in 1668 to house Les Filles du Roi. (Photo: Carol Ufford)

House of Industry records revealed

In the chill of a Toronto winter in 1859, 31-year-old Catharine Allen had two young children, was heavily pregnant with her third, and had been deserted by her husband. Ann McClauliff, a 66-year-old widow, had survived by selling fruit from a basket in the summer but could no longer make a living in the cold weather. William Pellett, just 6 years old, had been picked up by the Police Magistrate because his parents had been sent to jail for a month. And 45-year-old Jane Cummings lived in a “horrid den” with her two young sons and her husband, disabled by an old leg injury that would not heal because of his “excessive intemperance”.

All four of these vulnerable Torontonians ended up seeking help from the House of Industry.

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017, Toronto Branch funded the digitization of a major portion of the House of Industry fonds at the City of Toronto Archives—a rich source of information on the individuals and families helped by the institution from the 1830s to the early 1900s. The digitized volumes include both printed books and handwritten manuscripts, and are available to view now through the Internet Archive.

A dedicated team of Branch volunteers has been busy creating verbatim transcriptions which will make the handwritten manuscripts fully searchable and, as a result, much more accessible to researchers. The first of these transcriptions, covering 1855–1859, is now complete and posted online.

Find out more about the fascinating and often heartbreaking stories of the House of Industry, how to explore them online, and how to help to transcribe more of them, on the Toronto Branch Projects blog.

Exterior of House of Industry building
A photo of the House of Industry in the 1880s (Toronto Public Library Baldwin Collection image S 1a-3239a)

Toronto Branch Meetings

7:30 pm Tracking an 18th Century Regiment
Tracking an 18th Century Regiment
Apr 29 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Tracking an 18th Century Regiment @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Speaker: Sam Allison Genealogists can benefit from the techniques and sources used to write history books. Driv’n by Fortune is about a Scots regiment that settled in Canada. The 78th Fraser’s Highlanders (1756–63) defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham,[...]

Courses starting & Workshops

6:30 pm TRL Map Collections Tour
TRL Map Collections Tour
May 1 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
TRL Map Collections Tour @ Toronto Reference Library, 2nd floor | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY MAP COLLECTIONS TOUR This tour is co-sponsored with the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Toronto Reference Library. The tour will highlight the various types of maps available for research: from[...]

Other Events

all-day OGS Conference 2019
OGS Conference 2019
Jun 21 – Jun 23 all-day
OGS Conference 2019 @ London Convention Centre
The 2019 OGS Conference provides a great opportunity for family historians to attend stimulating workshops and lectures from engaging speakers from Canada and around the world, see what’s available in the genealogy Marketplace, catch up[...]

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?