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Interview with a Volunteer: Bob Crawford

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.

Bob Crawford is a member of OGS and the following branches: Halton-Peel Branch, Kingston Branch, Toronto Branch, Irish Palatine SIG and the Ireland SIG

How long have you been involved with OGS?
Been involved with OGS since the late 1990s

 What hats do you wear / have you worn?
Currently : Chair, Halton-Peel Branch.
Past positions: Branch Vice-Chair, Branch Indexing Coordinator

 Currently: Acting Secretary, OGS. Past positions: Vice-President, OGS, President, OGS, Past-President, OGS

 Other: Chair, Conference 2009, Marketplace Coordinator, Conference 2011

How did you become interested in genealogy?
In the mid 90s my uncle took a slight interest in discovering his gr. grandfather Crawford. He knew his grandfather well but did not know who his gr. grandfather was. He discussed the topic with me, wondering how we could find the information. I had access to the Internet at work (early days of Internet) and found the Index to the 1871 census that had been done by OGS. I searched for all CRAWFORDs in Kingston, Ontario and came up with a short list. We eliminated many of the people because of age and ethnicity (Irish) and came up with a short list. Between the 2 of us we narrowed the list to one man by looking at cemetery lists and the full 1871 census which gave us the names my uncle knew as his grandfather and gr. uncles and aunts. This all peaked my curiosity and I started to explore both sides of my family and my wife’s family.

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 knew that my gr. grandfather had graduated from Queen’s University but I didn’t know too many details. I have discovered that he graduated in 1869 at the age of 17-18 with a degree in Fine Arts and Poetry. His graduating class had 8 students. This degree did not seem to fit his future career as a Master of a steamship. It seems that he worked on a ship on the Great Lakes during the summer and often did not return to class until October. After graduating, he went back to the ships and became a Master of several ships moving people and freight between Kingston and Picton and finally between Port Hope and Rochester NY. He finally left the ships in the 1870s and ran a business supplying coal and wood to the ships working out of Kingston. The family ran the business until the mid 1940s when my grandfather sold it. Never forgetting his connection with Queen’s University, my gr. grandfather became a member of the Board of Trustees of the university. He held the position from the mid 1890s until his death in 1940. He represented the School of Mining and then the School of Engineering.

 There have been many things that I have discovered about our families that no one ever talked about. I hope to be able to bring them together for the current family to learn about.

Many thanks to Bob for his continued hard work!

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