Ontario Genealogical Society  new logoDurham Region Branch of the Ontario Genealogical SocietyDurham Region Branch tree logo

OGS Conference 2015
June 5-7
Barrie, Ont.

...details to come

Conference 2013 Photos
and some newly discovered 2013 tour photos by Bob Bell

Bob Bell's local history photo collection.

Learn About/Contribute

Our branch presented
three workshops
in November, hosted
by the Bowmanville
Branch of the
Clarington Libraries.


If you are a member of ANY branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, extra features are available online:- e.g.; back issues of eNewsleaf/Families, Pedigree Charts, OGS Database, online purchases (including memberships), our funeral cards...


The Durham Members Only Area

Members Only: Here you can sign in with your email address and password. Links are also provided for recovering lost passwords as well as for creating your log-in for the first time, either by joining OGS or (for current members) by sending your email address to the OGS Membership Coordinator.

The Durham Region Branch, O.G.S. holds meetings at 7:30p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month, in the Oshawa Library basement auditorium, 65 Bagot Street, just south of City Hall. Google Map Location

Oshawa Public Library

No meetings are held in July and August.

Visitors are always welcome. Come and bring a friend.

(Free Admission!)

Our historical and genealogical records are stored in our main Durham Region Branch Office.

  ••• Everyone Welcome! •••  

• Durham Region Branch Meetings [Location/Time] — [Future Speakers] [Past Speakers] - Next Meeting - Tuesday - November 4, at 7:30 p.m. •

Our usual general meeting location is the Main Branch of the Oshawa Library (basement auditorium).

[However, the November Meeting will be held at Bobby Orr Lounge at Oshawa Civic Auditorium on Nov. 4, 2014.] GOOGLE MAP LINK

Also, at our next two meetings, we will discuss the pros and cons of cancelling the January 2015 and September 2015 General Meetings, as both would occur close to a public holiday.

Ruth Burkholder

Ruth Burkholder - Researching Hudson Bay Company Records Extensive hand written records are stored in both government and company archives. They are some of the earliest documents recording native peoples and overseas immigrants, particularly those from Scotland. Hudson Bay Company ...is it just a chain of stores?  NO ... there is much history in this company which has been in continuous operation for over 344 years. Started by 2 Frenchmen in 1670 under an English Royal Charter, it is owned by an American Equity firm ... truly a multinational history of a multifacted entity.  There are some interesting stories and interesting records to be found regarding this Canadian iconic retailer.

The OGS Conference 2013 Syllabus, on a USB stick, is available at our office for $10. (I.E.; Speaker notes and bios.)

The Branch Office is open to the Public: every 2nd Tuesday, 7 to 10 p.m. and every 3rd Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., each month, or by Special Appointment.

• at the October Meeting •


Jane MacNamara - Inheritance in Ontario: Estate Files and Beyond - Jane reviewed material in her book - Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and Other Records for Family Historians. In her own words: "Ontario researchers looking for records of inheritance usually stop once they've found the estate file. True, it is the richest single source, but the court register, minutes, and other documents that track the estate's progress through the court can add valuable family history clues and help tell the whole story. The presentation will review how to find an estate file and how it can lead to other sources both inside and outside the court system." Also, learn about Jane and what she's been up to lately, from her blog Where the Story Takes Me.


• at the September Meeting •


Guylaine Petrin: Women, Marriage and Property: the case of Elizabeth Sanders - who was a daughter of Loyalists and pioneer of Thornhill. Her house still stands on Yonge St., one of the oldest in York County. Her first husband died in the War of 1812; the second turned out to be a fraud. What was she to do in this situation, in a much different time than women of today? Find out at the meeting. (The original 1803 home is now much larger, and operating under the name Cricklewood.)



• at our June Meeting•


Introduction to Genetic Genealogy & Latest Developments in Tracing Your DNA - Grant Karcich

DNA provides answers on paternal lineages, disputed lineages and ethnic heritage. A non-technical explanation is provided on the use of surname projects, paternal and maternal genetics.


• at our April Meeting •

Land Petition Upper Canada

Ruth Burkholder - Finding Land Petitions Online

The Library and Archives online Land Petitions database provides access to more than 82,000 references to individuals who lived in present-day Ontario (Upper Canada) between 1783 and 1865. Ruth will guide attendees through the finding process. Many early settlers, both military and civilian, submitted petitions to the Governor to obtain Crown land. Sons and daughters of Loyalists were also entitled to free lands. https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/upper-canada-land/index-e.html .

Short Topic - The Toronto Reference Library - Anne Delong

Last year's OGS Conference 2013 Syllabus, on a USB stick, is available at our office for $10. (Speaker notes and bios.)

• at our March meeting •

Frank Jamieson Tire

Charles Taws (curator, Clarington/Bowmanville Museums and Archives)

Deciphering the Image: Discovering Identity - based on photos from the 40s to the 60s in this area. http://claringtonmuseums.com The current exhibition contains photographs from the earliest local photographers and those of the Rehder family in the 40s-60s. Colour movies from the 30s, taken by a local doctor, and documenting local communities, can also be viewed.

The Branch Office is open to the Public: every 2nd Tuesday 7 to 10 p.m. and every 3rd Saturday 10 a.m to 2 p.m., each month, or by Special Appointment.

• at our February meeting •

Since the Oshawa Library Auditorium was not available for Tuesday's meeting, our February meeting was held at Kingsview United Church.

Scotland map

Sher Leetooze, covered the movement of Lowland and Border Scots to Ireland in the 1600s and their lives before and after emigration. Sher has researched the Lowlands of Scotland, which includes the 'Border Counties'.  It was mainly Lowland and Border Scots who emigrated to Northern Ireland, or who were 'planted there' in the 1600's.  What were these Scottish places like?  How did the people from these counties earn a living?  What were their lives like?  Through a presentation of slides showing each county, Sher brought life in Scotland's Lowlands and Borders alive in her 45 minute powerpoint presentation.

Mini-talk - New Canadian resources, including photos, at Family Search. (Nancy Trimble)

• The January meeting was cancelled •

CANCELLED: Breaking Down Brick Walls - with our local expert moderators

Searching for family history becomes frustrating if you can't locate an essential record, or the records may be from another country (in another language), or a person's maiden name may elude you. Our moderators (and the audience at large) will provide advice, relate personal anecdotes, and point attendees in the right direction to resolve such dilemmas.


• at our December 2013 Meeting •

Celebrating the Holiday Season and Genealogy!
Show & Tell / Bring & Brag

At this meeting we celebrated the season together, along with any genealogical breakthroughs, special stories, favourite websites, interesting documents or other artifacts brought to this gathering.
Members were invited share genealogy 'ah-ha's.

Members brought festive snacks to share.
An extended break ensured an opportunity to chat and enjoy the seasonal treats.


• at the November Meeting •

Ted Barris, the well known author/journalist/teacher from Uxbridge, who specializes in WW2 history, told the truer story of the Canadian and British roles in the Great Escape. His is latest book “The Great Escape”was offered for sale, along with many of his previous publications. http://tedbarris.com

• at the October meeting •

Lori Busch spoke on the topic, "From England to Canada - Why, Where, and How They Came (1901-1911)". Lori was one of the speakers at Conference 2013, held at Durham College in the Spring. She has been writing and teaching about family history for more that 20 years, inspired by her grandmother's tales of London, England, during WWI. The genealogy bug has taken her back to those same haunts, where she found some great resources.

Our mini-talk - Stephen Wood described his sleuthing attempts to find a grave based solely on the partial photgraph image of a building located in the cemetery.

• at the Septermber meeting •

Glenn McKnight and Bob Bell

The War of 1812 : This war started in 1812, and continued for several years. That's why it is still a hot topic for historians. Bob Bell and Glenn McKnight spoke on the war (as an overview), and described how the war affected this area (i.e.; how it touched on local people and how the war led to development in the area).

Mini-talk - For those who missed our provinical conference (held in Oshawa), Nancy Trimble & Debbie Wilbur brought some purchases made during the conference and described a few highlights from their experience at Conference 2013.


• at the June meeting •

Dorothy Shier and her father Albert Jex

Jennifer Weymark M.A. (Archivist, Oshawa Community Museum) Oshawa’s Black History: A Look Into One Family and delineating the steps taken to perform this research; which is applicable to anyone doing genealogical research

Mini-talk - Dan Delong - Historical Maps of Toronto - a collection of maps to amuse, delight and inform - developed by Nathan Ng http://oldtorontomaps.blogspot.ca/


• at the May meeting •

Dorothy Shier and her father Albert Jex

Dorothy Shier - The Home Children/Barnardo Children

Tens of thousands of children, who could not be supported by parents in England, were sent to Canada by Dr. Barnardo. Many intakes of children, especially of girls, occurred in nearby Peterborough, where a stop-over house maintained a boarding operation from 1886 to 1922. This may be just one of Dorothy's topics. Her father, who farmed north of Whitby, was a Home Child. She searched for details about his life for 30 years.

Mini-talk - Nancy Trimble - a tour of the new Family Search including a webinar sample to explain what's new.


• at the April Meeting •

Peter Johnson and Anne Delong

Peter Johnson - A Perilous Trip Into the Rebellious State Of New York: delving into various aspects of New York State - some history, some sources, lots of pictures - with a dip into New Jersey and Vermont briefly too.

Peter points out that his recent return, as a 'Loyalist', into once hostile territory, could, by a long stretch, be regarded as "perilous".

This photo of Peter Johnson and Anne Delong was taken at last year's Area 7 Meeting in Peterborough. They are distantly connected, genealogically.

Peter began genealogy in 1968 and became an OGS member in 1974; also, a UEL Assoiate. member since 1982. Later, he was the UEL Assoc: past Dominion President, past Toronto Branch President, former co-Genealogist, and now retired Bay of Quinte Branch president. He and Angela live on a piece of the 1801 Johnson land grant north of Trenton.

• at the March Meeting •

Ruth Burkholder

Ruth Burkholder: Railways and Genealogy

Come and hear how these two topics can be linked.

ruth DOT burk AT sympatico DOT ca

Ruth will expand this talk for her Conference 2013 session.


• at the February Meeting•


Using Maps to Build Your Family Story - Sher Leetooze

Sher is a well-known local author, who has learned many 'tricks of the trade' while developing her craft. She will demonstrate how to gleen information from a variety of map sources - but mainly those from Ontario and Great Britain.

Min-talk (time allowing): Anne Delong - on the criteria for putting your ancestor on Wikipedia.

• at the January Meeting•

Changed Topic: Sher Leetooze will present next month.

The meeting time is correct; however, the topic is, "Breaking Down Brick Walls". Our group of local panel experts will not only discuss their methods for, and experience with, solving long running mysteries from their own family trees, they will also attempt to solve yours.

So, bring along your most puzzling research problems. This may be the moment that you 'break down this wall' - as Ronald R. would say.


• at the December Meeting •

Celebrating the Holiday Season and Genealogy!
Show & Tell / Bring & Brag

At this meeting together we celebrated the season along with any genealogical breakthroughs, special stories, favourite websites, interesting documents or other artifacts, etc.
Members were invited share genealogy 'ah-ha's.

Please bring festive snacks to share (optional).
An extended break ensured an opportunity to chat and enjoy the seasonal treats.

• at the November Meeting •
Fraser Dunford

Dr. Fraser Dunford, a retired engineer and university administrator, has been involved in genealogy for about 25 years. Much of his interest centres on his home county of Peterborough, Ontario. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. For many years Fraser was the Executive Director of OGS. As the founder of The Ontario Naming Index (TONI), he was able go into great detail regarding its potential for genealogical research.


• at the October meeting •
Marian Press

Marian Press
Marian is a staff Librarian at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, who has immersed herself in computer technology, since its inception, as a research tool.

She is particularly well-versed on the topic of "Online Newspaper Research".

Nancy Trimble (mini-talk): TONI and Pay Per View: What is the Difference? (The Ontario Naming Index now contains over 850,000 names.)

• at the September Meeting •
Louise St Denis of the nation Institute for Genealogical Studies

Louise St.Denis
She spoke about Online Genealogical Education with the 'National Institute for Genealogical Studies', which offers a extensive variety of courses, many leading to certification. Each person in attendance was given a free course (nine courses for one lucky draw winner).

Plus a mini-talk - the Flip Pal - a mobile, battery operated scanner serving a variety of personal and genealogical needs. [Global Genealogy is a Canadian supplier.]

• at the June Meeting •

30th Anniversary Durham Region Branch

30th Anniversary Celebration: Nancy Trimble: "Look to the Future - Social Networking" - Janis Carter, on the history of our branch - with slide-show and all important CAKE!!

Optionally, bring along your Pedigree Chart (family tree chart), ready for display, for you may find unexpected ancestor connections while at this meeting/celebration. pedigree chart


• at the May 2012 Meeting •

Rick Roberts black frame

Rick Roberts : (Global Genealogy) - Family Tree Maker from Beginner to Trickster - (materials availablefor sale)

Benefit from dozens of hints and tips that will help you improve your results using Family Tree Maker 2012 (FTM) Rick provides an overview of FTM to demonstrate the software's design and abilities for recording and sharing information both on paper and digitally. His talk will Include an introduction to new features in FTM 2012, including TreeSync™ which allows you to easily update your tree online from your desktop, your laptop, even your iPhone or iPad -- and then simply click to sync so your tree is always up to date, no matter where you access it next.

Bessie Gannon

Bessie Gannon, a founder and longtime valued member of the branch, died on Friday, April 13, 2012, at 91.

Visitation is 2-4 and 7-9 on Tuesday - funeral 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Oshawa Funeral Home.
Gallery of Branch Photos. The following video files are large, requiring a waiting period for the complete download.
1998 Interview Excerpts [Windows 19MB - wmv | Mac 17MB - mov]
2011 Christmas Show and Tell [Windows 22MB- wmv | Mac 21MB - mov]
Note: The .wmv files are sharper than the .mov files.

• at our April meeting •
Durant's Right-hand Man by Paul Arculus

Paul Arculus: Discovering History Through Gravestones

Paul Arculus has (for his historical writings and for his teaching career) won the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement. Although the topics for his historical writings range from local crimes, homes and estates, commerce and merchants, and steamboats on Lake Scugog, his most recent book recounts the life of a Port Perry man whose hand in the creation of General Motors is little known. Paul's interest in Dr. Campbell was spurred by a stone in the nearby graveyard. His book is titled, "Durant's Right-Hand Man" (another colourful Canadian story).

• at our March Meeting •
irish emigrants arrive

Ruth Burkholder - Early "Real Estate Agents" in Upper Canada: - a talk about companies formed to promote group emigration, provide income for institutions or just to make money. Covers Kings’ College, Canada Company, Peter Robinson settlers, and other related schemes.

[A new resource - Release of the Canadian Emigration: Parliamentary Papers 1826.]

• at our February Meeting •

irish logos

Wayne O'Connor (Eoghan O'Conchobhair) - Irish Genealogy (mostly Southern Ireland)

Wayne (a previous Durham Branch newsletter editor), has investigated many resources while researching his own family. During the presentation he re-visited websites he found useful, demonstrating their strengths and weaknesses. Wayne signs his e-mails with "Slan go foill". Resources and links with be posted on the Blog.

• at our January Meeting •

breaking down brick walls image

Breaking Down Brick Walls - with our local expert moderators

Searching for family history becomes frustrating if you can't locate an essential record, or the records may be from another country (in another language), or a person's maiden name may elude you. Our moderators (and the audience at large) provided advice, related personal anecdotes, and pointed attendees in the right direction to resolve such dilemmas.

• at the December Meeting •
Bessie Gannon is a long time founding member

Celebrating the Holiday Season and Genealogy!
Show & Tell / Bring & Brag

- Bessie Gannon (shown here) was amongst a long list of presenters who related personal family and genealogy stories.


introductory courses image

• The THREE Spring Workshops were quite successful. We plan to offer them again next Spring (with an additional fourth course).

• Stephen Wood will staff the Branch Office twice per month. Please see the Our Office page for times and dates. Our brochure (pdf - 1.13MB), is an introduction to the Durham Region Branch of the OGS.

Check the Blog for other news and upcoming events. Join the RSS feed by clicking on the subscription buttons

Past Speakers and Meeting Descriptions

The above link leads to a compilation of monthly meetings of the Duraham Region Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society for the years 2008 and 2009. Scroll below for a summary of our 2010 meetings.

Thank You for visiting - the Durham Region Branch OGS.