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


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.

Since March 2020, Toronto Branch meetings have moved online as Zoom webinars. We anticipate that this arrangement will continue through 2021 to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep our members safe. Our online meetings have been well attended by both members and non-members—and we’ve been very pleased to reach more of our long-distance members!

1837 Rebellion: Rebels With a Cause
Sep 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
1837 Rebellion: Rebels With a Cause @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

William Lyon Mackenzie was the protagonist behind the 1837 Rebellion. Genealogists have a good grasp as to his reasons for inciting an armed revolt and the aftermath. But who were the rebels? What were their reasons for participating in the rebellion? What were the consequences of their participation? Were they successful in bringing about change?

A number of the rebels arrested were housed in the city jail on King Street in Toronto. During their incarceration some of them carved elaborate wooden Rebellion boxes. These boxes were addressed to family and friends with poignant messages carved into them.

Several prisoners were transferred to Fort Henry awaiting transportation to Van Diemen’s Land, the penal colony in Australia. Ten of them managed to escape from Fort Henry, making their way to safety in the United States.

As strange as it seems, a number of the Children of Peace participated in the Rebellion with two of them losing their lives in December 1837.

Join Patricia for her lecture on the rebellion and learn the interesting stories behind some of these rebels.

Speaker: Patricia Blackstock grew up in Toronto and inherited the genealogy bug from her mother as a young child. She is a retired teacher with a love for learning about the history of her family and the country in which they lived. She has completed all the advanced level Canadian courses from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and is currently working on the Irish courses. She volunteers at the Royal Ontario Museum taking the public on walking tours of various areas in Toronto, talking about the architecture, history of the area and some of the people who lived there. Taking people on tours around Montgomery’s Inn and managing their library is one of her new ventures along with serving on Toronto Branch’s Education Committee. An avid interest in the 1837 Rebellion developed as a result of learning that she had one direct ancestor arrested as a rebel and numerous peripheral family members involved. Five of her family served in the militia as loyalists during the Rebellion. On the 175th anniversary of the rebellion, she volunteered to compile the names of York Region rebels for the York Region Branch OGS. She has amassed an extensive database of rebels and is delighted to have the opportunity to share this information with you.

Mini-presentation: Michael Nettleton presents “For the Bible tells me so”. Those of us with family Bibles and genealogies are grateful for these records. But are they gospel? Michael will share how he unravelled a unexpected dilemma.

Click here to register for the meeting and get your unique Zoom link.

Judge Grizzle: Civil Rights Activist
Oct 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Stanley George Sinclair Grizzle was a Canadian citizenship judge, a soldier, a political candidate and an activist. Born in Toronto to Jamaican immigrant parents at the end of WWI Stanley Grizzle became a railway porter at 22, founded the Railway Porter’s Trade Union Council and was active in the labour movement throughout his life, becoming the first African-Canadian member of a trade union. Mr. Grizzle was an associate editor and columnist for Contrast, a black community newspaper and penned the book My Name’s Not George: The Story of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in Canada. In 1959, Mr. Grizzle and Jack White became the first African-Canadians to run in an Ontario election. Mr. Grizzle has also received the Order of Ontario, Order of Canada and the Order of Distinction from Jamaica for his valuable contributions to Canadian society.

Our speaker, Pancheta (Pat) Barnett

Speaker: In her work life, Pancheta (Pat) Barnett, PhD (Hon) has been an actor, writer, artist, empowering speaker, ordained minister and practitioner of holistic medicine. For 20 years she held the position of Director of Communications at North York General Hospital. Since 2013 Ms. Barnett has acted as President of The East York Historical Society. She has also held the role of Chair, Committee for Honourific and Ceremonial Street and Lane-Naming for the Toronto and East York Community Preservation Panel. In that capacity she was proud to champion the name “Stanley G. Grizzle Lane” for a public lane in the Danforth and Main area near Stanley G. Grizzle Park. The proposal was successful and the name was adopted in 2018.

Click here to register for the meeting and get your unique Zoom link.