How to Research Your Family History: Part 4

September 20th, 2014

Maps

Location is one of the most important things to determine, since so many records are location based. Tax and census records are clearly location based, but so are church registers and many wills. Always identify, as closely as possible, exactly where an ancestor lived, and when.

When you know the location, one of the handiest things you can have is a contemporary map. Unfortunately, old maps are not easy to find and usually do not show what you want to see. Probably the best source of Ontario maps are the county atlases. These large books were produced in the 1870’s and 1880’s for most –  but not all –  Ontario counties. Many were reprinted as a historical project in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They contain excellent township and community maps and often include some of the names of the more prominent members of the community. Check out your community library as well as they tend to have local atlases.

You can find a number of county atlases on line at In Search of Your Canadian Past: The Canadian County Atlas Project.

Other online sources of maps include:

Map of the Province of Upper Canada – 1800

District Maps Of Canada West/ Upper Canada /Ontario – 1836 and 1845

A gazetteer will provide the location of every named feature. There are a number of them, some more complete than others, and of course old ones will provide old names that are no longer in use. A good modern one the Canada Gazetteer Atlas. If you are researching locations in Ontario, check out the Ontario Locator.

Natural Resources Canada’s website Querying Geographic Names of Canada offers a search name of present and past names. For current Ontario locations, use the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s online road maps.

OGS Monthly Webinar Series for 2015

September 18th, 2014

OGS Members, here’s your chance to have your say about the topics for the 2015 OGS Monthly Webinar Series.

Take the short survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PMTT5TC

Ottawa Branch and British Isles Family History Society of Ottawa Team up for Special Event

September 16th, 2014

Date: November 2, 2014,

Time: 2:00pm-5:00pm

Location: Woodroffe United Church Banquet Hall, 207 Woodroffe Ave., Ottawa ON

Topics:

1. Searching for Names: Challenges, Pitfalls and the Downright Ridiculous
2. Solving Problems Through Family Reconstruction

Speaker: Kirsty Gray

UK Rockstar Genealogist Kirsty Gray will give two lectures in Ottawa on Sunday November 2nd. A sought-after lecturer, Ms. Gray’s knowledge and her energetic and infectious personality wows audiences around the world. Appointed as Director of English Studies with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (University of Toronto, Canada) in 2011, Kirsty has more recently been awarded Superstar Genealogist (Gold Medallist in the Rockstar Genealogist Awards 2013) for the UK/Ireland by fellow family history professionals: Rockstar genealogists are those who give “must attend” presentations. Signed copies of her book “Tracing Your West Country Ancestors” will be available at the presentation.

The lectures, sponsored by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), will be held at the Woodroffe United Church Banquet Hall (207 Woodroffe Ave) from 2-5pm.

Admission is $10 per person at the door.

A break with light refreshments will be held between the two lectures.

Contact info: http://ogsottawa.on.ca/

Notice for Brant County Branch Meeting

September 15th, 2014

Date: Sunday, September 28, 2014

Time: 2:00 pm

Location: Brant County Branch Library, 118 Powerline Rd., Brantford

Speaker: Sharon Murphy

Topic: Sharon’s Top Ten Tips in Genealogy

Contact Info: http://www.ogs.on.ca/brant/

Notice for Toronto Branch Meeting

September 15th, 2014

Date: Monday, September 22, 2014

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: North York Memorial Hall, 5110 Yonge Street, Toronto

Speaker: Guylaine Petrin

Topic: The Widow Cathy Brown: Proving a Family Story

Brief Info: Archival recors and oral history reveal the story of a strong woman who had to re-invent herself and fight two governments

Contact Info: http://torontofamilyhistory.org/

Introductory Membership Grants Access to Webinars

September 13th, 2014

OGS Webinars are open to members only and now is the perfect time to join for the first time.

Our partial year membership launched June 1 and we welcome new members to join us for the rest of 2014 for $35.70 rather than waiting till the New Year. Partial year Members receive all the benefits of Individual membership including our quarterly mailing for August and November, as well as the upcoming OGS Research Day at the Archives of Ontario scheduled for November.

This offer is also available to those who have not been an OGS member since 2011 and would like to come back.

Join now: http://www.ogs.on.ca/integrated/integrated_account_new_step1.php

Announcing October’s OGS Member’s Genealogy Webinar

September 13th, 2014

Mind Mapping Your Research Plans and Results
Speaker: Thomas MacEntee; hidefgen.com/
Thursday Oct. 2, 2014 @ 7:00 p.m.

Do you have trouble planning a genealogy research strategy? What if you had an automated way to lay out concepts, variables and actions? Mind mapping can help you create an effective research plan as well as help you connect data points once the research is completed. Learn about automated mind mapping tools that let you see your research data in a new light.

Thomas MacEntee built his genealogy business after 25 years in the information technology field. A blogger, educator, author, social media connector, marketer, and network builder, he is the founder of the GeneaBloggers community, and a very popular speaker on genealogy and technology.

Up to 100 people can access this webinar at one time. The room will open 10 minutes before the session is scheduled to start. Sign in to the Members Only area right now to attend today’s webinar live.

If you wish to check that your computer and network connections will work well with Adobe Connect, you will find more detailed access instructions visiting: http://www.ogs.on.ca/membersonly/mem_webinar_upcoming.php and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Kawartha Branch Special Event: Getting Here, Emigration Schemes from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales

September 13th, 2014

Date: Saturday Oct. 4, 2014

Time: 9 a.m.-3:15 p.m.

Location: Northminster United Church, 300 Sunset Blvd. Peterborough

Speakers:

  • Salvation Army- Archivist Col. John Carew
  • Corsley Emigration 1830s- Alan Brunger
  • Cumberland Emigration-Elwood Jones
  • Peter Robinson Emigration 1823-25–Peter McConkey

Cost: $35 including snacks and lunch
Contact event Registrar: www.ogs.on.ca/kawartha

More Information: http://www.ogs.on.ca/kawartha/Conference-Page 1 and 2.pdf
To Register: http://www.ogs.on.ca/kawartha/Conference-Registration (2).pdf

Reminder: Save Norfolk County Branch – Call for Volunteers

September 13th, 2014

Alan Campbell
President OGS

This is a reminder that there is a meeting of Norfolk County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society on Sept. 16, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at the Delhi Seniors Centre, 418 Queen Street, Delhi, Ontario.

This meeting is being held to vote to become an inactive Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. The vote is being taken simply because new volunteers have not come forward to fill the positions on the Executive and those of Committee Chairs. It would be unfortunate if a Branch that was chartered in October of 1987, were to move to inactive status with the resulting loss of easier access to family history materials by researchers.

Potential volunteers are welcome to contact either Co-chair of Norfolk Branch for more information prior to the meeting:

  • Marie Shull @ rmb@xplornet.com
  • Shirley Godfree @ sgodfree@oxford.net

How to Research Your Family History: Part 3

September 13th, 2014

We now come to the two most difficult issues that genealogists must grapple with: Proof and Citing your sources.

Proof
Prove everything before going back another generation. Otherwise you may discover that you have spent much time developing a magnificent family tree of great value to someone else. The rule of thumb is that you should have three independent sources before accepting anything as fact, although you will quickly learn to judge the reliability of sources. This is because

  • A family story is rather unreliable
  • A family tree found on the internet is quite unreliable
  • Great aunt Minnie’s recollections of her childhood may be unreliable
  • A date of birth given on a tombstone may not be reliable
  • The age of an adult given on a census may be reliable, but be skeptical

Consistent age from several censuses is reliable. The date of a christening found in a church register is usually reliable but a date of birth in the same record may not be. A civil registration certificate is quite reliable and on its own can be regarded as proof.

What happens if you don’t find the evidence you are looking for?

First, remember the rule – Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Ministers sometimes forgot to put the entry in the record book. The person recording the information may have mis-heard the name and written down something else, a problem that often occurred when there was an unfamiliar accent. Becoming very creative about spelling may help you find the document you’re looking for.

Citing
For every fact you find – and accept – you should note the source so that someone else can go there to check your data. And of course you will want to return to that source too. You will be surprised how often you will want to re-check something a year or so later.

This rule particularly applies to information gathered from the Internet. Remember:
The Internet is a wide sea, but very shallow.

Unfortunately genealogies supplied on the internet rarely cite sources, so most of the information supplied on the Internet is only a starting point for your own research. The information is an interesting idea, worth slightly less than family legends, but requires you to verify the facts before it becomes valuable data.

Nothing is true until you have proven it true and cited your sources so that others can check your facts.