Toronto Branch monthly meetings are an opportunity to learn and to meet with fellow members. Most meetings have an hour-long presentation as well as a 10-minute presentation from one of our members. Meetings are normally held the fourth Monday of the month at 35 Lytton Boulevard, Toronto M4R 1L2 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Life on the Farm: Your Ancestor’s Place in Ontario Agriculture
Speaker: Jane E. MacNamara
We often think of farming as a traditional occupation—something that hasn’t really changed much. But that is not and was never the case. Farmers had to react and adapt to changing conditions like climate, technology, economics, new markets and new competitors. Some farmers did more than adapt. They set out to be the most productive by innovating with new techniques and processes, products, and marketing. Farm journals and business records survive in many archives. Farmers may have had help and encouragement along the way from agricultural associations, community groups, government agencies, or private patrons. Digitization of many of the records of these pro-agriculture organizations has made them a viable source to help us understand the changes that were happening around our farming ancestors—and whether they were leading the way or following the pack.
Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, is the author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians (OGS/Dundurn, 2013) and writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca. A long time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for Toronto Branch OGS, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records. She leads regular trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and is the organizer of Genealogy Summer Camp, an innovative program that brings out-of-town researchers to Toronto for a week of tutorials and hands-on research. As a trained graphic designer, Jane creates WordPress-based websites and helps clients with book projects.
Are you really finding it all when you search?
Mining Databases for Every Nugget of Information
Speaker: Marian Press
Many family historians confine their searches of Internet search engines and online databases to the most simple of keyword searches, often using just a relatively random choice of words, thereby potentially missing nuggets of information buried deep. This presentation aims to remedy this, showing how to get the most from a database by knowing both the general principles of online searching, as well as database-specific methodologies: concepts such as Boolean operators, truncation, wild cards, synonym searching, word order and simple versus advanced search. Whether results can be exported and analyzed will also be covered.
Internet search engines will be discussed, along with major genealogy databases such as Ancestry, FindMyPast and FamilySearch. There will also be discussion of databases that are not aimed primarily at family historians, but are full of relevant information and are readily available online through public libraries, such as Historical Abstracts, America History and Life and JSTOR. But the overarching theme is that the principles outlined in the presentation will help with searching any of the many, many online databases available to genealogists.
Marian Press, MLS, MA, is a retired academic librarian 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.