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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.

Jun
22
Mon
More Thrilling Stories from New France
Jun 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
More Thrilling Stories from New France @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada

Murder and Mayhem / Settlers and Sinners / Colonists and Criminals—More Thrilling Stories from New France
Carol Ufford and Dawn Kelly return with more fascinating stories from New France—unusual deaths, illegitimate children, and of course a little witchcraft and murder. As they tell the stories, Carol and Dawn will show some of the resources they used to trace their family histories.

Carol Ufford has been researching her family history for over 30 years. Her family has deep roots in Ontario, but she is jealous of her husband’s deep French Canadian and Acadian roots. Carol has served on the Toronto Branch Executive, and is currently the administrator of the branch Facebook Group, and a member of the branch Education Committee. While practising social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak Carol undertook a 14-day research challenge, and documented her progress on Facebook.

Dawn Kelly has been researching her family history for more than 25 years. She started looking for her Irish ancestors and along the way discovered she is more French than Irish. She has traced some of her family lines back into the 1500s in France and found that one of her 10th great-grandfathers was Samuel de Champlain’s valet at the time of the death of the founder of New France. Dawn has been a radio newscaster for 35 years, the last 22 of them at The Canadian Press. This spring she found herself doing national newscasts from her dining room during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sep
28
Mon
Debt, Drunk & Disorderly: Ontario Jail Records
Sep 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Debt, Drunk & Disorderly, Vagrancy, Prostitution, Theft, Assault, Insanity: Are You Sure Your Ancestors Were Never in Jail?
No one wants a criminal at the dinner table, but finding one in your family tree can add pizzazz to an otherwise boring list of names and dates! Did you know that 19th Century Ontario jails were also full of people who just couldn’t pay their debts? Or got caught in public drinking too much? Or got in one too many fights? Did you know that most people spent only a few days in jail? Or that Irish people were overrepresented? Or that women were most often incarcerated for “moral” offences? Or that jail records are one of the few types of 19th Century records that provide physical descriptions? This lecture will introduce you to wonder of jail records, and what they can tell you about your ancestors.
Janice Nickerson is a professional genealogist based in Toronto. Her expertise includes Upper Canadian history, criminal justice records, turning bare bones genealogies into shareable family stories, and using genealogy gifts and games to create a legacy. In addition to helping her private clients discover the richness of their ancestral heritage, Janice does heir searching for provincial Public Trustees, writes and lectures on a variety of 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.
Janice is a proud 8th-generation Canadian, with English, German, Irish, Welsh and Aboriginal ancestry.