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Understanding Ontario Land Registry Records
Oct 15 @ 2:00 pm – Oct 29 @ 3:30 pm
Understanding Ontario Land Registry Records @ THREE-SESSION ONLINE COURSE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Three-session online course: October 15, 22 and 29.
$30 OGS members / $35 non-members

Despite the impending closure of Land Registry Offices, Ontario land registry records are becoming more available than ever before—particularly for researchers at a distance. For those new to these records, words like lot, concession, plan, abstract index, and instrument can be confusing. But they are also crucial to locating a parcel of land and the records of ownership. This three-session course will focus on helping you understand how land is divided and identified in Ontario both historically and today.

The course will demonstrate sources to help you find your ancestor’s property description and then locate it on a map. We’ll also look at how you can use the property description to find the records of purchases and other transactions using,, microfilmed records at the Archives of Ontario, and original records deposited at local archives. While Crown Land records and Land Titles will be covered briefly, the emphasis will be on Land Registry records.

There will be homework! Please plan on time between classes for a little online reading and to check out some suggested websites. Each session, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time, but for the most benefit, please try to participate in the live Zoom session.

This course is now full.  If you would like to be notified the next time we run it, email us at 

Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, is the author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians (OGS/Dundurn) and writes about genealogy at A long time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for Toronto Branch OGS, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.

Researching Imperial Soldiers
Oct 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Researching Imperial Soldiers @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Researching Imperial Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the First World War

When the First World War broke out in August 1914, Canada was immediately involved as a Dominion of the British Empire. Tracing the history of Canadians in the war can be a fairly simple matter if your ancestor joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a solider. Those files have been scanned and are available online. But the men and women who went to war, many of whom were born in the UK, saw themselves as members of the Empire and may have gone into service with an arm of the British forces, especially the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, which were the only options for would-be pilots at the time. Tracing the history of Imperial military ancestors can be more challenging but also more rewarding. This talk will look at the different paths Canadians could take in an Imperial military career and how to trace them in the archives.

David Fuller is a historian and former journalist who has been researching the stories of soldiers, sailors, and airmen for many years. He is editor of The Maple Leaf, the magazine of the Central Ontario Branch of the Western Front Association, the UK’s foremost organization of First World War enthusiasts.

Click here to register in advance for the meeting.

Wars and Rebels: Lecture Series
Nov 18 @ 7:30 pm – Nov 26 @ 9:00 pm
Wars and Rebels: Lecture Series @ FOUR 1-HOUR ONLINE LECTURES | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

19th and 20th Century Ontarians were involved in many conflicts, both international and domestic. Learn the background to these conflicts, the personalities involved and the records that can help you trace your ancestors. Were they in the regular army, home militia, merchant navy or perhaps war brides? Or were they rebels looking to challenge the established order

All four sessions will include handouts. Attend them all or pick the sessions that suit you.

Each session will begin at 7:30 p.m and will consist of an hour-long presentation and opportunity to ask questions. For those who can’t attend the live session, a closed-captioned recording will be available to registrants until December 31.

The first lecture will be free to everyone. All subsequent sessions will be $8 each for OGS members and $10 for non-members. Or register for the Full Series for only $20 (OGS members) or $25 (non-members).

Includes access to all four lectures:
November 18: Exploring Military Records at Library and Archives Canada
November 19: Researching Military Service in Canada, 1840-1902
November 25: 1837 Rebellion and Our Difficult Path to Democracy
November 26: Second World War Research: Are You Ready?
$20 OGS members/ $25 non-members

Wednesday November 18: Exploring Military Records at Library and Archives Canada

With a focus on the First and Second World Wars, this session will review Library and Archives Canada’s online tools for military research, as well as how to access service files, identify an individual’s unit, and consult resources such as war diaries to learn more about the context of a person’s service. 

Presented by Sophie Tellier (Senior Archivist, Reference Services) and Jeannie Buchanan-Breit (Orientation and Archival Technician, Regional Services) from Library and Archives Canada.


Thursday November 19: Researching Military Service in Canada, 1840-1902 

Canadians participated in a series of military actions in the mid to late 19th century, including the Fenian Raids,  the Nile Expedition, the Northwest Resistance and the South African War. This presentation will explore the available resources for documenting the service of an ancestor in these events, including service in the Militia.  Learn where these resources can be found and how they can be used to document military service. We will also look at the extensive resources relating to British Army personnel in Canada until its departure and the creation of our own Permanent Force in 1871. 

Glenn Wright was born and educated in Toronto, Ontario. During his public service career that spanned more than 30 years, Glenn worked as an archivist, historical research officer and assistant historian with the RCMP.   He is the author of Canadians at War, 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War I Service Records (Global Genealogy, 2010) and Controversy, Compromise and Celebration: The History of Canada’s National Flag (Historical Society of Ottawa, 2017). He is a frequent speaker at family history and genealogical events, a past president of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, and a longtime member of Toronto Branch. Glenn has also been associated with television programs such as “Who Do You Think You Are?”, “Ancestors in the Attic”, and  “Engraved on a Nation”. 

$8 OGS members/ $10 non-members

Wednesday November 25: 1837 Rebellion and Our Difficult Path to Democracy 

In December of 1837 a bunch of farmers picked up weapons and gathered near the corner of Yonge and Eglinton Avenue, just north of the City of Toronto. Their plan was to march into town and take it over. Why did they do this? This talk will look at the Rebellions of 1837; the causes, the conflict, the outcomes and the personalities of some the people involved in this watershed moment of Canadian history.   

Bruce Beaton is a Toronto-based heritage practitioner, actor and writer. He works at Mackenzie House Museum. He created the exhibit Eaton’s Goes To War: Family, Memory & Meaning which was a Heritage Toronto 2018 Public History Award Nominee. He also developed and delivers an outreach education program for the City of Toronto called Hands On Inquiry: The Great War. Bruce sits on the board of directors for the Kensington Market Historical Society. He co-authored (with Shannon Todd) Reclaiming the Ruins: A Case Study of Graffiti Heritage Interpretation at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto which was published by Left Coast Press in 2015 in the anthology Understanding Graffiti.  

$8 OGS members/ $10 non-members

Thursday November 26: Second World War Research: Are You Ready? 

An information-packed introduction to a broad range of resources now widely available for Second World War research, or which (as with additional service records) are likely to become more accessible. Ideal for the distance researcher, our survey encompasses and compares Canadian and British military records and selected further sources relating to war brides, the merchant navy and the home front. 

James F.S. Thomson has designed and led many Toronto Branch courses, as well as giving presentations at workshops, conferences and meetings of the OGS, BIFHSGO and other groups. James is a University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies instructor, and is the current recipient of the School’s Excellence in Teaching award for Arts & Science courses. The courses which he teaches include Toronto and the Second World War and, online, Researching Canadian Local History. Drawing on decades of experience of family history research, James particularly enjoys promoting its close connection with local history research. 

$8 OGS members/ $10 non-members

Great Moments in Genealogy
Nov 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Great Moments in Genealogy @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

In keeping with tradition, a number Toronto Branch members will be sharing “great moments” in their family history research in a series of short presentations. This year because of the global pandemic we are reaching out to our more distant members to share their great moments. It should be a blockbuster of an evening!

Click here to register in advance for the meeting.