Archive for August, 2010

Interview with a Volunteer: Norine Wolfe

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

 Without the hard work of volunteers all across the province, OGS would simply cease to exist. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. This feature is designed to introduce you to some of them and let you know about the work they’ve been doing.

My name is Norine (Tinney) Wolfe. I have belonged to the Kent and Lambton Branches of the Ontario Genealogical Society since 1991. In 1998 I joined the Ottawa Branch of OGS.  My Dobbyn and Tinney roots are in Lambton and Kent County but I live in Ottawa. While I worked on the Dobbyn history I used the resources of the Kent and Lambton Branches. In 1998 I joined the Ottawa Branch of OGS because I had agreed to update a Moorhouse history published in 1962. This book contained the descendants of two Moorhouse brothers. The descendants of my ancestor Thomas settled in South Western Ontario, but the descendants of his brother Henry Moorhouse had settled in Eastern Ontario. I knew I would require the resources of the OGS Ottawa Branch to complete this work. To date I have published A Dobbyn Family History 1994, Twigs from a Tinney Tree 1996, The Moorhouses of Bear Creek, Bathurst and Brockville, Second Edition 2003

How did you become interested in genealogy?
In 1989 my Aunt Marguerite asked me if I would write a book about the Dobbyn family; my mother’s maiden name was Dobbyn and she had seven Irish ancestors. I knew nothing about genealogy but I had a deep passion for books and a strong curiosity about ancestry and history. Perhaps this is why my aunt chose me for this education into the unknown. When I accepted this proposition my aunt sent me two shoeboxes full of Dobbyn records she had been collecting for many years. Once I had completed one book I could not stop. The Tinney family came from Cornwall England in 1848 to Kent County. Cornwall England was a much easier area to research than Wexford County, Ireland

What hats do you wear – have worn?
At the second meeting of the Ottawa branch that I attended, I was recruited to answer Inquiries and pick up the Ottawa Branch mail. The only reason I accepted the position of Inquiries was because the lady who recruited me offered to bring to my home a copy of all the cemeteries Ottawa Branch had transcribed so I could work from home. Ottawa Branch had over a thousand transcribed cemeteries in their resources. They included cemeteries from five Ontario counties, Carleton, Lanark, Renfrew, Russell & Prescott, plus several indexes from community newspapers as well as Township histories. These were fantastic resources to have at my fingertips and I did become familiar with them quickly as I answered other people’s inquiries.

 Ottawa Branch was hosting the OGS Seminar in 2000. When I attended Board meetings, I was amazed at the amount of organization it took for this to come off and at the number of Board Members who were involved. I offered to Chair the Ottawa Branch Board for 2000 so my fellow Board Members could concentrate on organizing the Seminar. My term of office lengthened into two and one half years. I was anxious to get back to working on the Moorhouse book so determinedly quit as Chair in June 2002. I was also working as a weekly volunteer at the City Archives where the Ottawa Branch resources resided. Since someone else was now doing Inquiries for Ottawa Branch this gave me access to resources.

 In 2004 I was invited to be the OGS Director of Region VIII. I accepted this challenge, which included attending OGS Board Meetings in Toronto; chairing the Region VIII board meetings plus attending general meetings of each of the eight genealogical societies belonging to Region VIII. This position gave me a better understanding of the challenges at head office. I enjoyed the people I met at the OGS Board level and seeking solutions to the problems we all faced. But this job required a great deal of driving and reporting so when my three-year term was up I was ready to give it to someone else. Relieved of this responsibility, I offered to take on the Program Director’s job for Ottawa Branch; a position which I still hold. Not only am I required to recruit speakers for the monthly meetings, but must book the rooms at Library Archives Canada for the meetings of Ottawa Branch and each of it’s special interest groups. I have been involved with organizing programs for Gene-0-Rama, an annual two-day conference Ottawa Branch holds to bring knowledgeable speakers and vendors to the city to broaden the education of our members. I assisted with the indexing of Ottawa Branch News.

Would you like to share a favourite genealogical adventure you have had?
Working on the Tinney history was sheer joy. I was given an address of a lady in Leeds, England doing research on the Tinney name. She was my third cousin and had been researching the family for thirty years. There is in Golant a Tinney cottage built in 1677 by Ralph Tinney to whom I can trace back my ancestry, thanks to my British cousin. From the Cornwall Historical Society I chose to write to a lady who owned a Tinney ancestral home. Almost every lead I found led to success. When I completed the book we went to Cornwall, England, to visit. The Golant Tinney cottage was owned by a man who believed he had been sent by God to maintain it as it should be kept. He knew the history well and took pleasure in telling it. The lady who owned the Tinney ancestral home, where my great great grandfather died, had researched the family so she could take us to the home where they had raised their children and to the church they had belonged to.

 What project or event has been a highlight of your work for OGS?
In 2007 Ottawa Branch hosted the OGS seminar. I was a member of the program committee. I worked with the writer & director of Vintage Stock theatre to plan a surprise opening of Seminar and the program. We had a Queen Victoria arrive for the opening. For the program they did a reenactment of Queen Victoria’s decision to choose Ottawa as the Nation’s Capital.

Many thanks to Norine for her work!

On Our Website: Branch Locator

Monday, August 9th, 2010
web address graphic

Image courtesy: Renjith krishnan, link below

When you go to our website, you don’t have to be satisfied by simply reaching the provincial level of the Ontario Genealogical Society. You can also use our website to find plenty of  information about our Branches.

OGS has 30 branches set in different regions of the province. We also have 2 Special Interest Groups for members who have an interest in a particular genealogical topic.

It’s at our branches where the magic happens. Each branch holds vibrant meetings, runs exciting genealogical projects, hosts a branch website,  and provides resources to meet the needs of the members of that branch… all through the continued hardwork and dedication of our members who volunteer their time to make each branch the best it can be.

Check out our Branch Locator to find out which branch is nearest to you and then attend the next meeting or volunteer for a project. We’re always happy to have more members in our genealogical community.

Image: renjith krishnan /

War of 1812 Society

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Canada and the U.S. have been at peace with one another for almost 200 years now, but many Canadians can trace their ancestry to someone who was involved in the War if 1812

Can you?

Membership in the Ontario Genealogical Society’s War of 1812 Society is open to anyone who can prove they are descended from any of the following:

  • a British soldier based in what is now Canada during the War of 1812-1814
  • member of any Canadian militia unit that saw action during the War of 1812-1814
  • a native who saw action on the British side during the War of 1812-1814
  • Proof of descent must meet genealogical standards for membership in this Heritage Society.

    Visit the War of 1812 Society section of our website to learn more and download an application form.

    At the Library: Local Histories

    Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

    Generally when we think of useful resources for genealogists, we think of the census, or vital statistics (births, marriages, deaths). These are the important sources. They help a genealogist track down the facts about his/her ancestors, and the OGS Provincial Library has all of these things in its collection. We have more in our library though and one thing we have that has not been mentioned so far is a local history collection.

    We collect local history publications of towns all across Ontario. We have these books in the library for several reasons:

    1. They’re useful for genealogical research: The history of a town is never complete without also talking about the people who lived there. If you’ve pinned your ancestors down to a particular area, you may find they have been mentioned in a book about that area. These brief details may give you enough clues to carry your investigation forward.

    2. They make the past come alive: Local histories describe the lives led by the people living in the community over the years. Even if you don’t learn any details about your specific ancestors, a local history will give you a stronger sense of how they lived and what their community was like.

    3. They can be rare: Local histories are often publications of community historical groups and committees. Their print runs can be very small which means that after awhile, it can be difficult to find a copy of the book.

    The provincial library is the place to come for a rare history like that. You can find our local history collection by visiting our library catalogue  and searching in the TITLE or SUBJECT for the name of the town you want to know more about.

    Ontario Genealogy this Month: August

    Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

    Here are some of the genealogical events happening around Ontario this month:

    August 2 – Online Genealogy Courses from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies 
    Research: Canadian Genealogy on the Internet (Part 3);
    Research: Jewish Ancestors-Basic Introduction;
    Research: Salt Lake City, The Largest Genealogical Library (Part 2)

    August 4 – Huron Branch August Meeting at  the Huron County Museum, North Street, Goderich, ON
     Alan Campbell of Sarnia will speak about writing and publishing your family story
    Everyone is welcome; location is wheel-chair accessible
    Doors open at 7:00 pm, meetings begin at 7:30 pm and usually run until about 9:30 pm
    For more information, visit the web site:  and

    August 20Howards of Lynden Reunion - descendants of Barnabas Howard (1791-1835) and his wife Margaret Victoria Moore Howard are invited to a gathering at Lynden United Church across from the cemetery which Barnabas Howard initiated the year before his death. Follow the title link for more information

    August 21One World – One Family – A Family History Conference; Brampton Ontario Stake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- Brampton ON. This conference features speakers Paul F. Smart: recently retired from FamilySearch in Salt Lake City, Utah and specialist in British Family History; and J. Brian Gilchrist: one of Canada’s leading genealogical authorities. Follow the title link for more information about this conference.
    Genealogical Events can also be found by checking the OGS Calendar and by visiting our Facebook page.
    Did we miss any events? Let us know in the comments section.

    Happy (fill in your history) Day

    Monday, August 2nd, 2010

    Today is a holiday in most parts of Canada  so the OGS Office is closed.

    Many parts of Canada have a holiday today but, despite what your calendar says,  only Manitoba, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories officially refer to it as the Civic Holiday (note: Quebec does not have a holiday today).

    In British Columbia, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick the day is named after the province in question. Alberta calls it Heritage Day. Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia call today Natal Day; and in Ontario, the day has different names depending on where  in the province you are .

    But whether you’re celebrating Simcoe Day in Toronto, Colonel By Day in Ottawa, Founders’ Day in Brantford, John Galt Day in Guelph or Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, or you call the day yet something else,  OGS Provincial Office hopes you have a wonderful first Monday in August.

    …And please let me know if I’ve left out the name today is given in your area. I’m sure there are some I have yet to learn.