TORONTO BRANCH OGS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Access to the meeting is limited to current Toronto Branch members. If you are a member, please refer to the AGM package you have received either by email about May 11. It explains how to pre-register for the AGM and acquire your unique link to join the meeting.
For more information or if your AGM package didn’t arrive, please click to contact us.
During the first half of the 19th century thousands of people left their homes in Cornwall. Many of this Cornish diaspora came to Canada and a significant number settled in Ontario north of present-day Oshawa. Wesley Johnston’s English Corners Project examines the relationships between these families. He will explain the strategy he used to untangle these “Family Thickets” and how it can be applied to other immigrant groups. Wesley will also talk about what resources he expects will further his research. Many of the Cornish immigrants were Bible Christians. In part 2 of our series Sher Leetooze will describe how exploring the roots of Bible Christians led to her writing three books about them. Sher will describe some of the original sources she used to understand how the Bible Christian preachers became the glue binding these Cornish immigrant communities together.
Note: The webinars will be recorded, so that registrants who can’t attend the live presentations may watch at a more convenient time.
June 8, 7:30 pm
Cornish Settlers in East Whitby Township: 1830s and 1840s
Conditions in Cornwall in the 1820s and 1830s pushed many families to emigrate, seeking a better life in Canada. Many families from St. Blazey, Cornwall, emigrated together and settled in the east half of Whitby Township. We investigate the conditions leading to emigration and follow the story of one family from St. Blazey to Whitby Township. We explore other aspects of the families and how they interconnected in a “Family Thicket”, seeking an answer to the question of who came first. We finish with two hypotheses that further research might enlighten.
Speaker: Wesley Johnston holds Master’s degrees in Mathematics and History. He began researching his ancestry when his father died in 1954, leaving him the Johnston Family Bible, begun 1861 in Pickering Township, Canada West. He has researched in many countries and languages. His 27 books are on family history, art history and World War II history. He is the Historian of the U.S. 7th Armored Division Association and past president of the American WWII Association Historians Consortium. His family history web page is at http://www.wwjohnston.net/famhist
June 15, 7:30 pm
The Bible Christians of Ontario
With a focus on Cornwall, we will look at where the Bible Christians came from, why they left, where they settled and built their chapels. You will also find out why they later migrated to other parts of the province. Their stories will be told using old photos, maps and entries from their diaries. The Canadian census was also useful in filling in the gaps in these stories.
Speaker: Sher Leetooze discovered that her own ancestors were Bible Christians, and so began the process of finding out more about these people. Sher’s research discovered the beginnings of the Bible Christians, who the people were, where they came from, why they left. Sher followed them across the North Atlantic, to the places they settled and built their chapels. The glue that held them altogether were the preachers who served them from their humble beginnings in 1815 to the union that ended the sect in 1884. Sher’s trilogy of books about the Bible Christians includes: A Corner for the Preacher—the story of the people; BC Chapels of the Canadian Conference—the story of the chapels they built; and The Damascus Road—the story of the Preachers and their trials and tribulations of working in the Canadian bush. In this presentation Sher includes information from all three books, including maps, photos and entries from their diaries.
The Ancestry of Dr. W.S. Kindraczuk (1882-1969): Research in Ukrainian, Polish, German, and Austrian records
This presentation is based on the genealogical chapter of the speaker’s biographical book about her maternal grandfather: Dr.W.S. Kindraczuk, Forgotten Chemist of Lancut and Pioneer of Probiotics (2018) who discovered a new probiotic bacteria “Bacillus carpathicus” in 1912 at the University in Vienna. Dr. Kindraczuk was born in the province of Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in an ethnically mixed family: Ukrainian (father) and Polish-German (mother). When Romana began to research her family history in 2002 there were few online sources. She started her research in libraries in Toronto but then travelled to libraries and archives in Ukraine, Poland, and Austria. She researched the genealogical records of her grandparents and visited the birth places of her parents and ancestors in Poland and western Ukraine.
Speaker Dr. Romana M. Bahry is Professor Emerita in the faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. She was born in Salzburg, Austria and arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax in February 1948 as an infant with her parents who were World War 2 refugees. They joined her father’s uncle in Hamilton who had immigrated earlier to Canada from Poland in the 1920s. She obtained her B.A. Honours degree in French and Russian and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Toronto. After three years as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Toronto, she began to teach at York University in 1972, where she specialized in Comparative Slavic Literatures (Ukrainian, Russian) and English, Central and East European Film and Culture, and European Studies. She is fluent in English, French, Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian and has a reading knowledge of Latin and German. Dr. Bahry has a son, two daughters and five grandchildren.
Resettling and Rethinking: A Settlement Document that Revised a Family Story
During the pandemic, Bonnie took advantage of the free access to various documents at TNA in England and found a Settlement Document for her g-g-grandfather George Fouch. Even when you think you know all about your ancestor, there may be documents out there that will unsettle you and cause you to rewrite your family story. This document raised questions of a London adventure and took her into related family wills, property in Tewkesbury, and land-lording at the Black Bear Inn. As the document revealed, her poor ancestor George wasn’t quite the man she thought he was.
Speaker: Bonnie Bell is a retired accountant who has been a Toronto Branch member and volunteer for over 20 years. She has been researching family history, mostly in England, Scotland, and Canada, for over 40 years.
This will be a hybrid meeting. You are welcome to join us in person at Lansing United Church. Masks are encouraged. (We’ll know you are smiling.)
Or watch the presentation live online. Click here to register for your Zoom link.
THE 2023 TORONTO HISTORY LECTURE
Join us for the 12th Toronto History Lecture. This year’s lecture will be: The Tragic Fate of Huron Elliott: A Forgotten Indigenous Worker on Toronto’s Water Tunnel Project
Speaker: Eric Sehr
One of the most ambitious undertakings of the early 1900s was the construction of the Water Supply Tunnel in Toronto’s harbour—also the site of a remarkable archaeological discovery. Speaker Eric Sehr will delve into the unique story of Huron Elliott, a miner from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, who died with three fellow workers building this essential infrastructure, still in use today.
The lecture is free, but registration is required. Click here for more information and to reserve your space online.