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Understanding Ontario’s Crown Land Records
Mar 17 @ 3:00 pm
Understanding Ontario's Crown Land Records @ THREE-SESSION ONLINE COURSE | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

This course is now full.  To be put on a waiting list for the next course, please email us at

Three-session online course:
3:00 pm to about 4:30 pm
March 17, 24 and 31, 2021
$30 OGS members / $35 non-members

This online course will focus on the process involved in acquiring (or attempting to acquire) land from the Crown in early Upper Canada, and the records that were generated. Understanding the process is key to navigating the complicated but wonderfully rich set of records. An astounding quantity of material from the late 18th and early 19th centuries has survived and is now available free online or on microfilm by interloan. We’ll look at several big indexes to collections at the Archives of Ontario and Library and Archives Canada, and digitized records on FamilySearch, Canadiana, and at LAC.

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. Space is limited. Register early to reserve your spot!

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.

Many Stories of Toronto: Online
Apr 21 @ 7:00 pm – Apr 29 @ 8:30 pm


The journeys, experiences and history of Torontonians and our Toronto ancestors are immensely varied. This April, we invite you to join us for a special four-part series of lectures titled The Many Stories of Toronto, as we bring you tales of the struggles and victories of people from all over the world who came to call this city home. Four expert speakers will each tell you about their research.

The lectures are free and anyone may register. Attend the whole series or pick the sessions that suit you.

Each session will begin at 7:00 p.m and will consist of an hour-long presentation and opportunity to ask questions. We’ll be recording the sessions so you can time-shift and watch whenever it is convenient—or watch a second time.

Includes access to all four lectures:

April 21: Proudly Indo-Caribbean: A Transnational Journey Through Indentured Servitude
April 22: Bonded for Life: Tracing the Genealogies of the Enslaved families in Early Ontario
April 28: Discovering My Roots: A Chinese Canadian Perspective
April 29: Reconstructing a Homeland: Armenian Immigration and Settlement in Toronto


April 21: Proudly Indo-Caribbean: A Transnational Journey Through Indentured Servitude—Bhonita Singh

Mother and three children in garden

Bhonita Singh family photo

Caribbean identity is complex. The different ways people arrived there (transatlantic slave trade, indentureship, refuge, etc.) have significantly influenced the way we define what it means to be Caribbean. Between 1838 and 1917, western European governments allowed their planters in the Caribbean to import indentured servants from India to work on their plantations. Their arrival was in direct response to a so-called labour shortage emanating from slave emancipation.

This lecture aims to explore these histories as we unpack Caribbean identity in relation to race and culture through examining the speaker’s own genealogical journey.

Speaker: Bhonita Singh is a proud first-generation Indo-Caribbean-Canadian woman in her final year of undergraduate studies at Brock University. Bhonita sits on both the Provincial and local-level board of directors for the Ontario Public Interest Research Group. She has been involved with Scouts Canada for a decade and is currently a leader with the 1st St. Catharines. She also facilitates Anti-Oppression workshops through the Student Justice Centre at Brock University, sits on the BUSU Gender and Sexual Violence Committee, and the 2SLGBTQ+ section for The President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization at Brock University.


April 22: Bonded for Life: Tracing the Genealogies of the Enslaved Families in Early Ontario—Natasha Henry

Ad for Peggy, Upper Canada Gazette

In her presentation, Natasha Henry will discuss how enslavement affected the notion of family in tracing the experiences of two Black families held in bondage in Ontario during the 18th and 19th centuries. She will also offer her insights on how enslaved families maintained relationships despite their forced conditions.

Speaker: Natasha Henry is an educator, historian, and curriculum consultant. She is the president of the Ontario Black History Society. Natasha Henry is currently completing a PhD in History at York University, researching the enslavement of African people in early Ontario. Through her various professional, academic, and community roles, Natasha’s work is grounded in her commitment to research, collect, preserve, and disseminate the histories of Black Canadians.


April 28: Discovering My Roots: A Chinese Canadian Perspective—Arlene Chan

Dominion of Canada Head Tax Certificate

Arlene Chan has researched and written extensively about the Chinese in Canada. However, the journey to search her family history turned out to be a true labour of love. She encountered challenges along the way, many unique to the Chinese diaspora who are tracing their family roots.

Speaker: Arlene Chan is an author and award-winning Chinatown historian who has written seven books about the history, culture, and traditions of the Chinese in Canada. She devotes her time to researching, writing, and relating her experiences and family stories as a lecturer and Chinatown tour guide. She serves as the president of the Jean Lumb Foundation, and as an advisor for Myseum of Toronto, Ontario Infrastructure’s Heritage Interpretation Working Group, and Toronto Public Library’s Chinese Canadian Archive.


April 29: Reconstructing a Homeland: Armenian Immigration and Settlement in Toronto—Cassandra Tavukciyan

Armenian Boys’ Farm in Georgetown, Ontario: group of seven young boys, 1925. Credit: Canada. Immigration Branch / Library and Archives Canada / PA-147570)

Between 1923 & 1927, a group of over 100 Armenian children from the Ottoman Empire were resettled in rural Georgetown, Ontario. Composed of children who became refugees in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), this resettlement of non-Commonwealth and non-European subjects is often considered the first example of large-scale international refugee resettlement in Canada’s history. Relying on oral history accounts held at the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, in addition to photographs held in the Archives of the United Church of Canada, this talk will explore the socio-cultural and economic challenges faced by the Armenian refugees in adapting to their new surroundings, in the context of a broader Canadian society adjusting to its changing position in an evolving post-war British Empire

Speaker: Cassandra Tavukciyan is an archivist and researcher. She holds a Master of Arts in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She has held positions at the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, the New York Public Library, the Ryerson Image Centre and the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Studies and is currently serving as Specialist, Digital Collections Management at the Canadian Museum of History.