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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.

Lives and Times of the United Empire Loyalists
Jan 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

United Empire Loyalist Statue in Hamilton, Ontario

Speaker: Sandra McNamara UE

Please join Sandra as she travels back in time to explain how the United Empire Loyalists can be considered Canada’s first refugees. Many of the founding families of Canada had originally settled in the colonies that would form the United States, but following the Revolutionary War of 1776, they were brutally persecuted and banished from their homes and land because of their loyalty to the British Crown. Find out who the United Empire Loyalists were, the circumstances they endured in their lifetimes, the traditions they brought with them to their new home, and how much they contributed to making Canada the country it is today.  Perhaps you will discover that you are a Loyalist descendant yourself.

Sandra McNamara UE graduated from York University in 1983 with a combined Applied Mathematics and Earth Science Degree as a Geophysicist.  She worked in the field, as well as doing research for 10 years.  For the past 24 years she has been a stay at home mom.  Always having an active and inquisitive mind, Sandra began to focus her research skills to the genealogy of her father’s side of the family always keeping in mind her Grandmother saying “I come from a strong Loyalist stock.”  Looking through the names and dates, it became apparent that her Grandmother was correct.  Delving back to founding families of New Jersey, (who moved from Rhode Island), combined with the early settlers of New York, Sandra discovered that after five generations, these same families moved during and after the Revolutionary War to become some of the founding families along the shores of Lake Erie in Norfolk County.  Sandra has expanded her trees and interests through ancestry and having made numerous friendships by researching through Facebook.  She believes in helping people discover their past.

Mini-presentation: Janice Nickerson — Great Grandma’s Social Media: 100-year-old Postcards.

Digital Humanities for Family Historians
Feb 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Digital Humanities for Family Historians @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada


Speaker: Marian Press

Digital humanities is an area of research and teaching at the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities, which has resulted in history and social science departments at academic institutions digitizing research materials and compiling historical databases for computer analysis and interpretation. More and more of these materials and databases are directly relevant to family history. In addition, beyond the databases and digitizing that can be used for computer analysis, there are more straightforward academic projects that genealogists can take advantage of.

This presentation will look at how things stand in 2018, as many more relevant projects have come online, as well as give an overview of the best of the resources that were made available in the past.

Marian Press, MLS, MA, is a retired academic librarian living in Toronto. Born in New Zealand, she has been researching her Scottish, English, Irish and Portuguese roots for over 35 years, sharing the results online and in articles in family history journals. Much of this research involves travel to the places where her ancestors lived and worked. She is a frequent speaker at genealogical workshops and conferences and a writer on family history topics. In 2011, Dundurn/OGS published her book Education and Ontario Family History: A Guide to the Resources for Genealogists and Historians, the result of her years at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Marian is a long-standing Toronto Branch volunteer and has been serving as the editor of Toronto Branch’s Toronto Tree since 2010.


Mini-presentation: Beth-Lynn Adams — Chasing Betts Houses.