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Interview With a Volunteer: John Noble

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.


John Noble is a member of OGS and the following branches: Sudbury, Kawartha and Ireland SIG.

How long have you been involved with OGS?
I have been a member of OGS since 2002

What hats do you wear?
 I am the current  Chair of the Ireland Special Interest Group (SIG)

What project or event has been a highlight of your work with OGS?
I think at the past conference 2010, the first executive and first general membership meeting of the new Ireland SIG – it was encouraging to see so many attend the general meeting with lots of positive suggestions!

How did you become interested in genealogy?
I became interested in genealogy in 2001 when my youngest son expressed an interest in finding out if we had a family crest and where our ancestors came from. Couple with that, when my father-in-law passing away the same year, a couple of his nephews from Quebec attended the funeral and brought with them a book of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the little community where they had all been born and grown up. In the book was a family history of all the major families in the community. Having seen this, I thought –hey that’s what I can do and I was hooked!

Would you like to share a favourite genealogical adventure you have had or tell us about a part of your family history that you particularly enjoyed learning?
I proceeded to do my own family tree and that of my wife. I was amazed at the information that is available and also of the many people literally around the world who provided me with so much data. In 2004 my wife and I travelled to Ireland to visit the places where our ancestors originated from.  That was simply outstanding and really awe inspiring. In 2005 I returned to Dublin to do research and again in 2008 to Belfast. Although I did not find my ancestors specifically, I enjoyed holding and reading documents that were 200-400 years old!  Time and time again, I have suddenly made contact with someone who is distantly related to some member of the families or extended families and we are able to compare and exchange information.

My most interesting research was concerning my own birth. I was born in Toronto in December 1944 during one of the worst snow storms in Toronto History. I wanted to find out more about the hospital I had been born at – St. Mary’s Hospital! I knew it was not far from where my parents lived on Dovercourt Rd – south of Bloor just west of Bathhurst! My mother had to walk to the hospital to deliver me since there was no transportation running because of the storm. With the help of the late Paul McGrath. I was able to obtain 2 booklets on the history of the hospital, which was located at Jarvis and Isabella in Toronto. The hospital is no longer at that location but is now the current Scarborough General Hospital! I was thrilled to find this information!

I have also had my DNA tested through Family Tree DNA and have matched with 4 other people with the same surname which means we are related somewhere back in time. This whole area of DNA is a most fascinating and intriguing one!

Many thanks to John for his hard work!


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