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

Late Summer Lecture Series: Online

August 18, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – August 26, 2020 @ 9:00 pm
Late Summer Lecture Series: Online @ FOUR 1-HOUR WEBINARS | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Join us on four evenings in August from the comfort of your home for the online Late Summer Lecture Series. Four expert researchers will guide you through specialized records or research processes. Attend all four 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 September 15.

The first webinar 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:
August 18: Ontario Records on FamilySearch
August 19: Upper Canada Sundries: An Under-used Genealogical Goldmine
August 25: The Heir & Devisee Commissions of Upper Canada
August 26: Enhancing your Research with Find a Grave
$20 OGS members/ $25 non-members

August 18: Ontario Records on FamilySearch — Jane E. MacNamara

FamilySearch has been collecting and capturing record images in Ontario for many decades. The organization was instrumental in preserving records in land registry offices, municipal building basements, courthouses, churches and cemeteries all over the province. Every one of those records is listed in the Family History Library Catalogue, many are digitized, and some are indexed so you can search by name. And they are all free. This lecture will show you how to find records, and provide tips on how to use them—sometimes done best in conjunction with indexes and resources at other sites.

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 the OGS Toronto Branch, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.


August 19: Upper Canada Sundries: An Under-used Genealogy Goldmine— Janice Nickerson

Where can you find whole communities begging for mercy for convicted horse thieves, neighbours informing on one another’s treasonous activities during the Rebellion of 1837, people applying for civil service jobs, widows asking for militia pensions, huge lists of aliens resident in Upper Canada and a whole lot more? In the Upper Canada Sundries. Come learn about this recently digitized little-known treasure trove of genealogical and biographical information about early residents of Ontario.

Janice Nickerson is a professional genealogist based in Toronto. Her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents all lived their entire lives in Ontario (except for a few months in the United States). Janice’s expertise includes Ontario history, criminal justice records, and turning bare bones genealogies into shareable family stories. In addition to helping her private clients discover their family stories, Janice does heir searching for the Public Guardian and Trustee of Ontario, writes and lectures on genealogical topics. Her books, Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Researcher’s Guide (2010) and York’s Sacrifice: Militia Casualties of the War of 1812 (2012) were both published by the joint imprint of the Ontario Genealogical Society and Dundurn Press.

$8 OGS members/ $10 non-members

August 25: The Heir & Devisee Commissions of Upper Canada— Linda Corupe

Heir and Devisee Commissions were established in Upper Canada in order to hear claims for original (or patent) deeds for lots to which the rights had been previously granted. Although the government had hoped that by the end of the first commission in 1803 or 1804 (depending on the district), the situation would be resolved, there were still hundreds of deeds that had not issued or been applied for by that time. Therefore, a second commission had to be set up, starting in 1805, and running right up to 1895. The related records have, as a general rule, survived, and constitute an invaluable resource, containing information on the earliest settlers who occupied or owned the rights to the lots in the years before that first deed was issued, something that might not be available through any other source.

Linda Corupe has been researching family history for over 40 years. She started out with her own family, United Empire Loyalists from the Quinte area of Ontario, but as her interest and familiarity with genealogical resources grew, she began to self publish books. At first, they were usually transcriptions of census or vital statistics, but now she has expanded to include other records such as court registers, heir and devisee claims, and bastardy oaths. Linda is a graduate of McMaster University, and a member of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. One of her favourite places to be is at the Archives of Ontario, where she has spent countless hours over several years, working for both herself and clients.

$8 OGS members/ $10 non-members

August 26: Enhancing your Research with Find a Grave—Ruth Burkholder

Yes, it is lots of fun to go to a cemetery and take pictures of your family memorials, but much more fun to add them to a website that lets you build your family tree, one person at a time along with obits and other photos. Let’s build a “tree” together! We’ll also look at how you can find and verify what others have contributed, and where that information can take you.

Ruth Burkholder, the daughter of British immigrants, was born and raised in Toronto. She married into a Pennsylvania-German farming family. The challenges faced in finding the records of these two diverse family histories have led her to an understanding and appreciation for the many different sources available for finding information. For the past 35 years, Ruth has worked as an historian and genealogist. She lectures, teaches, and works professionally as a researcher of local and family histories. Living just outside Toronto, she feels that she has the best of both rural and urban worlds.

$8 OGS members/ $10 non-members