Archive for the ‘General Posts’ Category

Where were your ancestors on July 1st, 1867?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Whether it is a personal or a global phenomenon, the anniversary of a momentous event will often trigger that “where were you when…” moment of introspection.  As we approach the 145th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, have you ever pondered where you’re ancestors might have been on July 1st, 1867?  According to Statistics Canada, there were 3,463,000 people living in Canada at the time of Confederation, with an estimated 1 million in Ontario alone.  Were any of these perhaps your ancestors?  Maybe you’ve discovered a United Empire Loyalist or two in your family tree, or perhaps you just followed the census trail back to 1861, if you had ancestors who where there when Canada entered confederation, we would love to hear about them.

Did you also know that having an ancestor in Canada on July 1st, 1867 makes you an excellent candidate for membership in the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Centenary Club? Please visit our website for more details on how to get your Centenary Certificate.

We will be closed on July 2nd,

Have a safe and happy Canada Day.

Cuts at Library and Archives Canada will Affect Genealogists

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Recently several cuts were announced by Library and Archives Canada (LAC). These cuts will affect the ability of LAC to provide a high level of service to researchers and will affect the public’s ability to access records housed at LAC. Additionally, LAC has announced cuts to programs that support archives throughout Canada, which will affect the ability of these organizations to continue to make Canada’s documentary history accessible.

What do these cuts mean?
Our access to Canada’s documentary history, as well as its continued preservation, has been put in jeopardy.

How will these cuts affect genealogical researchers?
1. LAC will be reducing their hours, restricting the public’s access to knowledgeable archivists and reference staff, and genealogical inquiries will require appointments.

2. The inter-library loan program will be cancelled as of February 2013. Previously researchers could request that documents be sent to their local library, free of charge. Examples of these documents included microfilms of passenger lists and census records, or published books held in the library collection. The cancellation of this program means that researchers must travel to Ottawa to view these records, or hire a researcher in the Ottawa area to access the records for them.

3. The number of staff employed at LAC is being reduced by approximately 20%. Not only does this mean a reduction in service to researchers, it will also affect LAC’s ability to catalogue books, describe archival collections, and digitize the collection.

4. LAC’s collection mandate is changing. Previously LAC’s role was to preserve Canada’s cultural and historical heritage, but now the focus has shifted to preserving the documents of the federal government. This means that private business records and the documentary history of ordinary Canadians are no longer being actively collected. Already several important pieces of Canada’s Aboriginal and military history have been acquired by private collectors both inside and outside of Canada.

5. Small and medium-sized archives throughout the country have been dependent upon funding administered through LAC. The elimination of this funding puts their ability to preserve their collections at risk. This funding, in the past, has allowed these institutions to properly describe archival records, digitize collections, create archival exhibitions, and hire new archival professionals.

If these changes concern you:
Write a letter to: your MP, the Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages, the Prime Minister, and/or your local newspaper. Outline how these cuts will affect your ability to research and access Canada’s documentary history.
Members of Parliament:

OGS Receives Trillium Grant for Phase 2 of Digitization Project

Monday, April 9th, 2012

As sent to OGS Members April 4, 2012:

The Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that we have been granted funding by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to begin Phase 2 of our Keeping and Valuing Ontario’s Heritage Project. The funding consists of $156,000 over two years and will allow us to continue to assist Ontario heritage organizations in scanning their materials and making them available to researchers.

Phase 1 began in Fall 2008 with the aim to do the following:

  • provide a digitized version of one-of-a-kind records, increasing security
  • allow small organizations access to digitizing services they otherwise could not afford
  • increase access to records significant to Ontario’s heritage
  • allow an income stream to heritage organizations if they wish

Since then we have successfully joined with several Ontario heritage organizations to digitize their records and make them available online through a revenue generating program. We have launched a beta version of The Ontario Name Index (TONI) as the main access point to the Pay-Per-View database. The information available through Pay-Per-View allows access to the history of the people of this province.

Phase 2 seeks to continue to support the preservation of Ontario heritage materials through digitization by adding to the data available on this system and expanding our affiliations to include new heritage organizations. We will improve and expand on TONI while creating new indexing systems where necessary.

We will also create and launch a more user friendly search interface for TONI and Pay- Per-View to ensure that researchers can find and access their information with ease.

OGS gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their strong support of this project and appreciates their ongoing efforts to support the growth and vitality of communities across the province of Ontario.

It’s Membership time

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

November  1st of every year marks the start of the OGS membership season. As of today all OGS members and non members can take out a Membership for 2012 and instantly have access to the many online OGS benefits.

  • Back issues of Families and eNewsleaf
  • OGS member only Pedigree charts you can use in your genealogical research
  • OGS Member message board where you can ask questions and share your knowledge with other members
  • OGS Tech Support board where you can get all of your genealogical technical problems sorted out by speaking with knowledgeable volunteers
  • Unique OGS databases such as the Strays database, The Wall of Ancestors, and the Empire Insurance Papers database

Also, for the first time this year, OGS members will receive special benefits as a result of our agreement with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

All OGS Members receive a 10% discount on Institute courses or packages.

OGS Members renewing before the end of January 2012 receive a free course:
Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started (see flyer in your November mailing for promotional code)


All OGS Members who renew their membership before December 31st, 2011 are automatically entered in a draw for a package of 9 courses in the stream of your choice: Canadian, American, English, Irish, Scottish, German, or Australian (Value approx. $900)

It’s never been a better time to

Happy Birthday OGS

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Photo credit: priyanphoenix from

While we have been celebrating our 50th Anniversary all year, it’s worth sharing that today, October 15th , is the actual birthday of The Ontario Genealogical Society.

On October 15th 1961 The Ontario Genealogical Society was established in a meeting at the University of Waterloo. The fledgling Society was sponsored by the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario and Dr. G.E. Reaman of Waterloo Ontario was made the first President.

Dr. Reaman’s first President’s Message is found on the front page of the very first Bulletin (now Families) which OGS members may view in the Members Only section of our website.

Through the hard work of enthusiastic genealogists across the province, we have changed and grown a great deal since that day in 1961.

Thank you to all members of The Ontario Genealogical Society for your tireless efforts and contributions over the years. Your dedication has made us who we are today.

Happy Birthday and welcome to our 51st year!

In Memoriam: Sandra Moore

Monday, September 19th, 2011

OGS and Toronto Branch are sad to announce the passing of Sandra Moore.

Sandra passed away on Saturday September 17, 2011 after a long illness.

Sandra was one of the Top 50 in 50 which Toronto Branch and OGS recognized this year.  

Sandra’s contributions to Toronto Branch extend back almost 30 years. She has served as Chair of Toronto Branch, co-author of the first edition of the Branch’s Policies & Procedures Manual and Branch librarian long before our collection had been subsumed by the OGS Library housed in the Canadiana Room at North York Central Library. She also worked extensively on various projects, including the Cemeteries Committee, for which she input the first Branch transcriptions into the computer.

Lately, Sandra has been known as the indefatigable leader of the Branch’s Places of Worship Committee. Through the dedication of Sandra, and other volunteers, the Places of Worship Committee has coordinated the transcribing and indexing of the many registers and records housed in the United Church Archives and in other churches and organizations.

Visitation and funeral arrangements are available here.

-contributed by Michael Ball of Toronto Branch

Don’t forget about the Keffer Essay Writing Contest

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The November 1st deadline is fast approaching for entering the 2011 edition of the Annual Keffer Writing Contest.

So if you haven’t entered already, but have been thinking about it, please send your entry (with the subject line,“Keffer Writing Contest”) to gracejewell AT before midnight, November 1st.

For the rules of entry into the contest, please refer to page 31 of the August 2011 edition of Families,or visit us online at

The three judges have been chosen, and are now awaiting your entries. The winners will be announced at Conference 2012 in Kingston.

The staff of Families would like to see as many members as possible enter the contest, so get that pen to paper, and let your writing talents show through!

Good Luck, and Happy Writing!

** please note that this entry has been changed to correct the email address for entries.**

Take Part in British Home Child Day

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The first ever British Home Child Day to be held at Upper Canada Village on Sept. 28, 2011

The “British Home Child Day Act” or Bill 185 received Royal Assent on June 1, 2011.  Under this Private Members’ Bill, September 28 of each year is now designated as “British Home Child Day” in Ontario. From the 1860’s to the 1930’s over 100,000 children between infancy and 19 years were brought to Canada by various charitable institutions in hopes of securing a better life for these underprivileged boys and girls.

A group of volunteers, dedicated to recognizing and honouring the contribution of British Home Children to Ontario and Canada, are working with officials at the St. Lawrence Parks Commission in order to commemorate the first British Home Child Day on September 28 at Upper Canada Village.

Plans include the dedication of a maple tree at the Aultsville Station, donated by MPP Jim Brownell, a sponsor of Bill 185 and Home Child descendant; displays from various Home Children organizations; an opportunity for friends and descendants to tell the story of their home child; and a specially planned British Home Child Tour of Upper Canada Village.

The “Just Kidding” theatre group from Metcalfe will perform a sampling of their upcoming production based on a Home Child story, and throughout the day musicians will entertain guests. The day ends with a catered dinner at the Village’s Willard’s Hotel, with the purchase of advance tickets required.

For more information please consult by the beginning of September or e-mail Carolyn Goddard at carol.goddard AT

Carolyn Goddard, Chairperson
British Home Child Day Committee, SD&G

Tall Ship Comes to Ontario

Monday, August 15th, 2011

If Tall Ships are your thing and you have plans to be in Amherstburg at the end of August, here is a sight for you to see.

Tall Ship “Pride of Baltimore II” scheduled to arrive in Amherstburg

The Pride of Baltimore will make its grand arrival at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, 2011 and stay overnight until Sunday, August 27, 2011.

 The 157-ft Pride of Baltimore II is a reproduction of an 1812-era Baltimore-built topsail schooner privateer.  The original “Pride”, Chasseur, defended America’s freedom during the War of 1812 by serving as an offensive weapon of war and blockade-runner, capturing or sinking 35 British vessels. The British attacked Baltimore in 1814 in an attempt to destroy the Fells Point shipyards where privateer ships were built. Amherstburg welcomes the Pride II as part of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Complimentary tour times are as follows at Duffy’s dockside

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dockside Deck Tours:  2 p.m.  to 7:00 pm

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dockside Deck Tours 11:00 am to 7:00  pm

 Please send this to anyone who loves Tall Ships!

Anne M. Rota
Manager of Culture and Tourism
War of 1812 Community

Canadian Genealogy Survey Now Widely Available

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Check out this survey and contribute to research into how genealogists work and what they need:

 (East Margaree, N.S.) – Carleton University researchers are seeking family historians to complete an online survey detailing how they conduct their genealogy research. Originally pilot-tested in Nova Scotia, the Canadian Genealogy Survey is now looking to attract a wider audience. Canadians researching their family’s history in Canada or abroad are invited the complete the survey, available at The researchers are also inviting family historians who are researching their Canadian ancestry from outside the country to take part. 

Associate Professor of Marketing, Leighann Neilson revealed that over 400 people completed the survey during the first 10 days after it became available. “We’ve had a wonderful response from the genealogy community in Nova Scotia,” Neilson said, “Now we are trying to get the message out across the country.” While the majority of people completing the survey have been from Canada, responses have also come in from across the United States, the UK and as far away as South Africa.

 Del Muise, Emeritus Professor of History at Carleton, is collaborating with Neilson on the survey. “In addition to completing the survey, we’ve had a number of people send us their comments and suggestions via email or leave comments on our blog. It’s the chance to have this kind of interaction with people taking the survey that makes it really interesting for us.”

 As the survey moves across the country, the public can follow its progress at Family historians, librarians, archivists and others interested in genealogy are able to comment and offer their opinions. “As results become available, we’ll be posting them on the site and inviting the community to react,” Muise said.

 For more information:

Del Muise                                                                     Leighann Neilson
Emeritus Professor of History                            Associate Professor, Marketing
Carleton University                                                Carleton University