An organization of family historians, some with Toronto roots, others who live in Toronto, we have ancestors around the world.


Distorted Descent
Jan 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Distorted Descent @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Dr. Darryl Leroux will discuss findings from his book Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity (University of Manitoba Press, 2019) that will be of particular interest to genealogists. An expert on French-Canadian genealogy, Dr. Leroux will focus on the genealogical mechanics that are leading an increasing number of white French-Canadians to identify as Indigenous. What he calls “practices of descent” explain how one must do something with certain ancestors to justify one’s nascent claims to an Indigenous identity. The three main practices of descent identified by Dr. Leroux are lineal descent, aspirational descent, and lateral descent, each of which provides amateur genealogists with the material to change certain ancestors’ identities to suit their own present-day interests.

Dr. Darryl Leroux is an associate professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at Saint Mary’s University. In 2019, he published Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity, which explores, in part, the genealogical mechanics at play in the phenomenon of self-indigenization. He has been researching the social and political dynamics of French-Canadian/Québécois genealogy for a decade, during which time he has published articles on the topic in academic journals such as Ethnic & Racial Studies, Journal of Critical Ethnic Studies, Social Studies of Science, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal.

Mini Presentation: Finding Unindexed Records on FamilySearch by Nancy Trimble

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Who am I? Where did I come from?
Feb 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Upon learning at age sixteen that she was adopted, Susan’s keen interest, curiosity and determination would take her on a thirty plus year journey of search for answers. She had no idea how her story would unfold or where it would lead. She did not have a single name, just the date and place of her birth. The records of her adoption were closed. New York State adoptees have been denied access to their own birth records for decades.

Susan’s search for answers took her back to the place of her birth to Albany, to walking the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, to Toronto and even Ireland. As an adoptee, she had so many questions… Who did I look like? Who were my parents? Did I have siblings? This was such an important question for her for growing up an only child, or as she always referred to herself, a “Lonely Child.“

Susan Moyer’s book The Lonely Child was published in 2018.

Susan will share the events and the amazing discoveries she made along the way. How DNA, Ancestry and other sites have aided in her search. With a lot of determination and hard work she has been able to put together the missing pieces of her own personal puzzle. She is no longer is that “lonely child” with the discovery of the much-wanted siblings she never knew she had.

Susan now knows the names of her parents, grandparents and cousins. She has the names of her biological ancestors and even a family tree that goes back generations.

Susan’s own search prompted a desire to help others by advocating for changes to New York’s adoption laws. On November 14, 2020 Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill allowing adoptees eighteen years of age to apply for their original birth certificates. To date it is estimated that over 20,000 adoptees have applied. That speaks volumes for the need and want for individuals to know the where they came from.

There is an old expression that goes: “If you do not know where you came from then you don’t know where you are going.” We should all have the right to answer the questions… Who Am I? Where Did I Come From?

Susan Moyer was born in Albany, New York and grew up in Syracuse, New York. She had a career in advertising and radio for many years as a copy writer, creative director, and radio commercial producer. Later she worked in special education. Susan is an author, speaker, and supporter and proponent for Adoptee Equal Rights. She has been married for 38 years to her husband, Paul, and lives in Rochester, New York where they raised their two sons. 

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Open for Settlement: Scottish Settlers in Canada
Mar 9 @ 7:30 pm – Mar 23 @ 7:30 pm
Open for Settlement: Scottish Settlers in Canada @ THREE-SESSION ONLINE SERIES | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Three-session online series:
7:30 to about 9:00 pm
March 9, 16 and 23, 2022

Following the Revolutionary War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the British Crown opened its new colony to settlement. This led to hundreds of thousands of Scots emigrating to Canada, beginning with settlement in PEI in 1792 and moving west, following the land that was being offered for settlement. In this series of talks, we will look at those who came to Canada, the colonizers who settled them, as well as the power and politics which orchestrated the settlement of the colony.

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. Click here to register.

March 9: Scottish Settlements in Atlantic Canada

Scots began leaving their homeland in droves following the move to farm improvements in the Highlands. This mass exodus coincided with the opening of land for settlement in Atlantic Canada, resulting in thousands of Scots emigrating to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. In this session we will look at life before emigration, the colonizers that assisted with emigration and the records that will help you to know more about your Scottish ancestor in Atlantic Canada. The years we cover will be pre 1811.

March 16: Scottish Settlements in Ontario

Following the Revolutionary War, many British subjects were eager to get onto British soil and Canada was the nearest colony. Land was granted to soldiers who had remained loyal and with the success of settlements such as Glengarry, colonizers soon realized that there was success to be had in getting Brits to settle in the huge swath of untapped land in Upper Canada. In this session, we will take an in-depth look at the colonizers who created the settlements in Ontario. These include Lord Selkirk, Lord Talbot and John Galt.

March 23: Scottish Settlers in the West

Prior to Confederation, John A MacDonald sought to recover some of the massive area in the west known then as Rupert’s Land. There also came a need to open the country from east to west and to also hold on to British Columbia who were on the verge of annexing with America. The Dominion Lands Act opened land in the west for settlement. In this session we will look at the Red River Settlement, the CPR settlements and the Canada Northwest Land Company.

Speaker: Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator who enjoys sharing knowledge and opportunities with others to assist them in their quest to find their Scottish ancestors and to preserve their family legacy. Being a Scottish emigrant herself, she is fascinated by the stories of others who left their Scottish homeland for opportunities in other lands. Her interest is in helping their descendants understand more about their Scottish ancestors and the lives they lived on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Serving in Serbia during WWI
Mar 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Serving in Serbia during WWI @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

When WWI broke out, a group of female, British-trained physicians offered their services to the British War Office to serve as triage physicians and surgeons on the front line. Their offer was declined:  they were told they could take the places of medical men who left practices and positions in England, but they would not be allowed to join the British medical teams at the front. This did not deter a group of them, among them Dr Elsie Inglis, who started the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and Dr Dorothea Clara Maude, (1879-1959) who travelled independently to serve with five different field hospitals in France, Belgium and Serbia.

In fact, Serbia was one of the first beneficiaries of the women’s offer of medical aid: through 1914 and 1915, hundreds of British women, including physicians, nurses, cooks, ambulance drivers and “grande dames” of English society travelled to war zones to set up hospitals that aided Serbian military and civilian wounded and helped check typhoid and malaria epidemics. Many of these hospitals were not only run by women, but were also staffed almost entirely by women. Funds were raised independently. In addition to being initiatives set up to aid allies, these field hospitals also served to show those back in England that women did possess the intelligence, stamina and wherewithal to be counted equal to men, even as women continued to campaign for suffrage.

Dr Maude read science at Somerville College before going on to study medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London. In 1915, at age thirty-five, she left her Oxford practice to travel to Serbia.  She spent the better part of the next two years in Serbia, Corfu and Salonika with the Serbs.

Dr. Marianne Fedunkiw is a Toronto historian, writer and playwright. She is the author of three books including Rockefeller Foundation Funding and Medical Education in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax (2005) and a novel about life after the PhD, A Degree of Futility (2014) as well as more than 75 articles on topics ranging from ice hockey to medical history. She has written for The Globe and Mail, various medical publications and was part of the team that started The Discovery Channel in Canada. She has a PhD in medical history, an MA in journalism and did a fellowship at University of Oxford (UK). When she is not working on plays dealing with medical history or her latest novel, Marianne currently works as a communications consultant within the university and healthcare sectors.

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Understanding Ontario Land Registry Records
Apr 13 @ 7:30 pm – Apr 27 @ 7:30 pm
Understanding Ontario Land Registry Records @ THREE-SESSION ONLINE COURSE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Three-session online course:
April 13, 20 and 27, 2022

$30 OGS members / $35 non-members
Registration will be available soon. Watch this space, or send us an email if you would like to be notified.

Despite the 2020 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 (back by popular demand) 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.

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.

Registration will be available soon. Watch this space, or send us an email if you would like to be notified.

Edvard August Schüth: An Accidental Biography
Apr 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Edvard August Schüth: An Accidental Biography @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Paul Jones stumbled across Edvard August Schüth (1819-1890) while researching someone much more important. Paul could have ignored him, but he needed to know how he fitted in with his “real” research. This investigation led to unexpected discoveries that could not be ignored. Now Paul knows more about Edvard than about any of his own 19th century ancestors. His story spans four countries on three continents, including Canada and the UK, but also Denmark and Chile. Edvard died in a mental hospital, never-married and childless. Did we mention that he was a member of a secretive society with connections around the world? Somehow, Paul has become his accidental biographer.

Paul Jones has been researching his own and others’ families for more than 30 years. He is a regular speaker at Toronto Branch events and has been the “Roots” columnist for Canada’s History magazine for the past decade. He is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, a former chair of the Branch and a co-founder of the Toronto History Lecture.  He also chaired the 2016 OGS Conference and served as a director of Canada’s History Society.

Click here to register for the meeting and get your unique Zoom link.