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Meetings

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.

Apr
29
Mon
Tracking an 18th Century Regiment
Apr 29 @ 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: Mary Brock: Toronto’s House of Industry for the ‘deserving poor’ 1837-1947

May
27
Mon
The Cowkeeper’s Wish
May 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Cowkeeper's Wish @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

THE COWKEEPER’S WISH: A Genealogical Journey

Speaker: Kristen den Hartog
Our speaker will be exploring the fascinating resources she and her sister/co-author used to create The Cowkeeper’s Wish: A Genealogical Journey. Part family memoir, part social history, the book follows the authors’ working-class family from the slums of Victorian London to 1930s Canada. Kristen will give specific examples of where they found ancestors “wandering insane,” charged with crimes, dying in workhouses and asylums, and fighting in the First World War. She’ll also discuss the family archive, and the thrill of weaving intimate family lore with the bigger events of history.

Kristen den Hartog is the author of four novels, including And Me Among Them, shortlisted for the Trillium Award, and The Perpetual Ending, shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. She and her sister, Tracy Kasaboski, have collaborated on two family memoirs: The Occupied Garden, about their father’s family in WW2 Holland, and most recently The Cowkeeper’s Wish. They blog about eclectic offshoots from their genealogical journey at https://thecowkeeperswish.com/. Kristen lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

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