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

Ontario Research Lecture Series: Online

June 16, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – June 24, 2020 @ 9:00 pm
Ontario Research Lecture Series: Online @ FOUR 1-HOUR WEBINARS | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Join us on four evenings in June from the comfort of your home for the online Ontario Research 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 for 48 hours.

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:
June 16: Archives of Ontario: What’s in it for me?
June 17: Loyal Then, Loyal Now
June 23: Canada Company and Kings College
June 24: Tracing 20th Century Ontarians
$20 OGS members/ $25 non-members

June 16: Archives of Ontario: What’s in it for me? — Jane E. MacNamara

The Archives of Ontario is a rich source for family history. You can find records of birth, marriage, death, and divorce, land records, and estate files, but that’s just scratching the surface. There is only a handful of records that are indexed by name online. The rest must be found using online and on-site finding aids. This presentation—from a determined researcher’s perspective—will help you understand how archival records are organized and “described” and demonstrate how you can get the most from the AO’s Archive Descriptive Database. There will be “insider” tips for both new and seasoned researchers–and many techniques will be applicable to any modern archives.

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.


June 17: Loyal Then, Loyal Now— Linda Corupe

United Empire Loyalists are often considered to be the founding fathers of our province. This presentation will discuss the three major groups: original Loyalists, “late” Loyalists, and Treasury Loyalists. From the establishment of refugee camps in the Province of Quebec, to their eventual settlement in Upper Canada, the story continues on with government policies towards the Loyalists, and the creation of the “mark of honour” which entitled them and their children to grants of free land. Historical documents such as claims for losses incurred during the Revolution, Upper Canada Land Petitions, military musters, provision lists, etc., serve to illustrate this exciting time in our history. The presentation finishes off with a discussion and case study of proving descent in order to obtain a certificate from the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada.

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

June 23: Getting Land from the Canada Company and Kings College— Ruth Burkholder

Come back with me to the early days of our province; back to the times when most settlement was on lakes or rivers along the southern edge of the land mass now known as Ontario; back to when the land was surveyed to let people settle, and for the most part it was divided into a grid of roads with 200 acres being granted to each settling family. Following the first influx of settlers the Executive Council of Upper Canada kept back on lot in seven of each surveyed township to lease as a source of revenue for government funding; and one lot in seven for leasing as revenue for the state church… The English or Anglican Church. Leasing seemed like a great idea … but by the 1820s it was noted that people were not leasing… so what could be done? This was the impetus for the formation of a real estate company called The Canada Company. At the same time young men wanted to further their education, but they did not want to head south to the colleges in the USA, so where was a university or college in Upper Canada and how would it be funded? And with the wave of a wand … King’s College came into being. This presentation will show you how these two seemingly different goals are tied together through the use of land.

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

June 24: Tracing 20th Century Ontarians—Janice Nickerson

When tracing Ontario families we usually start with census records and civil registration. But these records are closed for most of the 20th century. So where do you start if your earliest known ancestor was born after 1921? Or maybe you’ve traced your ancestors, but now you want to find out what happened to their brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews? Don’t despair, not all 20th Century records are closed. In fact, if you know where to look, you can learn a great deal about your recent ancestors and relatives. This lecture will introduce you to the records and strategies you need to peek behind the “closed” curtains of 20th Century Ontario. You’ll probably even learn something new about family members you thought you were done researching!

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