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Interview with a Volunteer: Norine Wolfe

 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!


2 Responses to “Interview with a Volunteer: Norine Wolfe”

  1. Chris Hussell says:

    I would like to contact Norinne. I am researching my brother-in-law’s familiy, and his grandmother was Ada Florence Dobbyn, a descendant of Richard Dobbyn, the original immigrant. I would like to purchase Norinne’s book “A Dobbyn Family History”.

  2. Norine Wolfe says:

    I would be happy to correspond with Chris Hussell about Ada Florence Dobbyn