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Toronto Branch monthly meetings are an opportunity to learn and to connect with fellow members. The format of meetings varies but there is always at least one main presentation by a guest speaker. Other offerings may include: short presentations by members about ‘great moments’ in their family history research, sessions where Branch expert researchers help solve members’ brick walls, other learning/sharing opportunities, ‘Discovery’ tables where items of interest to family historians are displayed or demonstrated, and ‘Rescue’ tables where donated gently-used publications are made available to other members.

Meetings are normally held the fourth Monday of the month at Lansing United Church, at the corner of Poyntz Avenue and Beecroft Road in Toronto  (west of Yonge just south of Sheppard). Official proceedings are from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. However, all members are welcome to come early and join the informal Members Network meeting commencing at 6:15 p.m.

Tracking an 18th Century Regiment
Apr 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Tracking an 18th Century Regiment @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada


Speaker: Sam Allison

Genealogists can benefit from the techniques and sources used to write history books. Driv’n by Fortune is about a Scots regiment that settled in Canada. The 78th Fraser’s Highlanders (1756–63) defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham, and then attracted thousands of their fellow countrymen to settle land in what is now New York and Vermont as well as Canada. (1763–76). Those soldier-settlers in the 13 English Colonies became the backbone of Loyalist regiments in the American Revolution (1776–83), then, re-migrated to take up land in Canada. Their descendants were “first to cross the Continent” partly because of their good relationships with the First Nations and French Canadians.

This talk analyzes the sources used to track these military migrants before, during, and after their time in the 78th Fraser’s Highlanders. It illustrates the problems of same names, false names, spellings, changing place names, false assumptions, and statistical errors. The dangers of historical myths are outlined.

Sam Allison was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in 1968. After teaching high school history, he then taught in McGill’s Faculty of Education. He served on committees for Quebec’s Ministry of Education, and has written educational books, articles, and websites. He lives in Brossard, Quebec.

Sam’s most recent publication, Driv’n by Fortune, will be available for sale at the meeting.

Mini-presentation: Georgie Kennedy — The Search for Ruth.

From Storefront to Home Front
May 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
From Storefront to Home Front @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada


Speakers: Anthony Badame & Stephanie Sukhareva

Join Museum Studies masters graduates Anthony and Stephanie as they discuss their process of turning original genealogical and archival research into an interactive and inspiring historical walking tour. Explore the role of the Eaton family as fervent supporters of Canada’s engagement in the First World War, and the profound effects of their involvement on Eaton’s employees, and Toronto at large. Anthony and Stephanie will present a compelling overview of their findings, as well as a case study of how to create interpretive content from your own research.

Anthony Badame completed his Master’s degree in Museum Studies at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. During his time at the University of Toronto, he was fortunate enough to present his work on Hopewell Effigy Pipes at the 2016 iSchool student conference and both co-created and led a walking tour on Eaton’s employees who served during the First World War. He is currently an Education interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village, where he delivers various historic programmes and tours for a wide variety of audiences.

Stephanie Sukhareva is a Master in Museum Studies graduate from the University of Toronto, with a Double Bachelor of German Language and History of Art from the University of Ottawa. As an undergraduate, Stephanie presented her research on German feminist art of the mid -20th century at the Department of Modern Languages Symposium, earning the Austrian Book Prize. At the University of Toronto, Stephanie co-created and presented a historic walking tour on employees of the T. Eaton Company who enlisted to serve in the First World War, and their families, bringing original archival and genealogical research to the streets of downtown Toronto. In the fall of 2017, Stephanie co-presented on museum programming for youth and young adults at the Ontario Museum Association Annual Conference in Kingston, Ontario. Stephanie is currently working at the Ontario Museum Association in Toronto.

NOTE: The Toronto Branch Annual General Meeting will precede this presentation.

Yes, There Was An Argument!
Jun 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm


Speaker: Bonnie Bell

Godfrey Addison Argument, known as Ed, was born in Toronto, August 28, 1921, and died in Belgium on September 17th, 1944 at the age of 23 after the plane he was flying was shot down.

As a commemoration of this brave young man, this talk will explore three periods of his short life. It will start with a look at his early years in Toronto, from birth until he enlisted in the RCAF in 1940. The second part will cover his pilot’s training in Canada, his transfer to the RAF in England, and his brief time as a WWII pilot. The third part will discuss his death and burial, and the visits to his grave and those of other fallen pilots, in Belgium, June 2017, by past and present members of the 33 Squadron (RAF). The talk will include mention of the various documents found for Ed and conclude with recognition of the people overseas who provided material and assistance. Regarding the importance of remembering Ed, there was no ARGUMENT.

Bonnie Bell has been a member of Toronto Branch of OGS since the 1990s. She has previously spoken at branch meetings, primarily on the role of photographs in family history research. In addition to the many years she worked on the St. James Cemetery Transcription Project, Bonnie served on the Executive Committee for both Conference 2010 and Conference 2016.   Her interest in family history began at age 11 when she received a Bible with a family tree complete as far back as her great-grandparents. Intrigued by the stories about these people, she began to explore the available genealogical records, visiting archives in Scotland and England and cranking the microfilms at the Family History Centres. Now retired from her job as a company Controller, she continues work on her Scottish and English ancestors both abroad and in Canada. In order not to become too self-focused, she sometimes undertakes research into unrelated families of interest.

Supermarine Spitfire Aircraft


Mini-Presentation:: Janice Nickerson, Great Grandma’s Social Media – 100 year-old postcards.