Posts Tagged ‘family history stories’

Archival Description: The Road Map to your Collection

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

So, just exactly what is archival description and why would you want to use it for your genealogical collection? In a nutshell, archival description is the process whereby you create a catalogue, finding aid, or access point, that tells you what is in the collection, and most importantly, where to find it. Now, you may be thinking, “but I just finished arranging the collection, of course I know where to find stuff!” It’s not the finding of stuff that is the point here; it’s where the stuff sits within your collection. If we refer back to how archival arrangement works, you will recall that while the fonds is your highest level of arrangement, it is really in creating the different records series where most of your work is going to be done. The more branches you have in your tree, the more records series you are going to have sitting in your collection. If you, and more to the point, whomever inherits the collection after you, wants to find great Aunt Myrtle’s 3rd cousin on her mother’s side, where exactly in the collection will this information be found. Unless you create some sort of access point as to where this 3rd cousin sits within the collection, finding them will be akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Description is also about telling the story of your family and the people who populate your family tree. In archival speak we refer to this as the Biographical Sketch. Each level of arrangement has its accompanying description. At the fonds, or collection level, the biographical sketch would be an overview of the family itself. It’s up to you how much detail you put into it. To give you an idea of how a fonds level description is structured, check out this description of the Shipley Family from the Archive of Ontario’s website. The process is much the same when it comes to describing the different branches in your tree, and indeed, any of the individuals within that branch as well. What stories do great Aunt Myrtle and her 3rd cousin on her mother’s side have to tell? Again, it is completely up to you how much information and the level of detail you want to put into your description.

Remember, the whole point of doing this is twofold: So that anybody can easily find anything within your collection, and, so that the stories of your family, and the people in it, are given a voice.

Interview with a Volunteer: Bob Crawford

Friday, November 19th, 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.

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!

Interview with a Volunteer: Steve Fulton

Thursday, August 19th, 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

Steve Fulton is a member of OGS and Niagara Peninsula Branch

 How long have you been involved with OGS?
3Years

 What hats do you wear / have you worn?
Co-Chair – Newsletter Assembler, Web and Tech Support, Publicly and Sales Table

 What project or event has been a highlight of your work with OGS?
Rebuilding Niagara’s Website and getting the Paypal Setup to accept Credit Cards is one of the many highlights, the biggest one is working with people who are dedicated to the work of the Branch.

 How did you become interested in genealogy?
My wife told me to get a hobby, so I did.

 Would you like to share a favorite genealogical adventure you have had or tell us about a part of your family history that you particularly enjoyed learning?
Found a new cousin that was living 10 minutes away.  Didn’t know he existed and he had been forgotten about in the family ranks.  Bringing him and his family back into the family was very exciting for me.

Seven Reasons to do your Genealogy

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Ever wondered (or been asked) why genealogy matters? Here are some reasons to research your family history.

  1. Honour Your Ancestors: The idea of honouring your parents and ancestors is valued around the world. What better way to do this than to learn who your ancestors were and ensure they will be remembered in your family?
  2. Know Your Health History: Scientists are determining that more and more health problems have a genetic component. Learning and recording your family medical history can show you what illnesses you are predisposed to. This is helpful to both you and your doctor.
  3. Find that Long Lost Cousin: Sometimes family members lose touch with one another. Piecing together your family history may lead you to uncover living relatives you never knew you had.
  4. Exercise your Mind: Genealogy is research. To be successful, a genealogist must develop good research skills and be up to date on the latest resources, tools and techniques for finding and evaluating information (not all the information out there can be believed). Researching your family history engages the brain and sharpens the mind.
  5. Know Who You Are: We don’t just get our health problems from our ancestors. You may have your grandfather’s nose and your great grandmother’s ability to play piano. When you learn where your ancestors came from and what they did, you will find elements of yourself too. Learning about them, helps you develop your own sense of who you are and where you came from. This gives you a solid foundation on which to build your future.
  6. Fun and Adventure: Do you like a good mystery novel? Or tv shows like CSI? Genealogy is detective work too. Feel the rush of excitement as you find the right piece of information to solve the mystery of what happened to your great-great- uncle. Then be adventurous and travel to the country where he was born.
  7. Leave a legacy for your descendants: Just as you will learn about yourself through studying your family history, when you record what you’ve learned, you give your descendants the same chance to know who they are and where they came from.

Why do you do your genealogy?

 Want to get started? Check out our How to Research Your Family History page.

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!

Interview With a Volunteer: John Noble

Tuesday, July 20th, 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.

 

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!

Interview with a Volunteer: John Woollatt

Tuesday, June 29th, 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.

John Woollatt is a member of OGS and the following branches: Toronto, Perth, Grey Bruce, and Waterloo

How long have you been involved with OGS?
I started not long after Ken Bird became the Executive Director.  I stopped in to enquire about the Family Group Sheets and Canadian Census Forms packages and the next thing I knew I was told to sit at a desk and was given some work to do.

What hats do you wear / have you worn?
I just got a nice new one at the Waupoos Winery on Wednesday, but I don’t think that is what you want to know.  I am willing to do anything that needs to be done from vacuuming around the shredder, to repairing collapsing bookshelves to indexing and data entry.

What project or event has been a highlight of your work with OGS?
There are probably two. 
 Getting the Empire Insurance project completed was a treat.  It was a huge and somewhat complex task and will provide OGS members with real benefits now and in the future.  It gave me contact with some terrific people – Joan Beckly (who is a demon proofreader),  Michael Ball (ace date enterer), Larry Binns plus a whole raft of students who spent up to seven weeks entering data while retaining their sanity and senses of humour. 
 
The other big project was the index of the Ontario World War II deaths. Cliff Collier did an amazing job editing the original script but it was hard to avoid thinking what a horrible waste of human life the whole thing represented

How did you become interested in genealogy?
 guess I am a curious person (my wife says in both senses of the word).  I just wondered where my various families came from and what theirs lives must have been like.

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 have Len Chester to thank for this.  When I began using the internet to do research, it never occurred to me that individual members of my family might be part of something posted on the net.  As a result I started off with such succinct queries as “woollatt family” and wondered why what I got was vague rubbish.  

Len told me the way to proceed was to be as specific as possible and to enclose the name you were searching in quotation marks.  I typed in the name of my grandfather’s oldest brother “George Henry Woollatt” and got an amazing newspaper article from a newspaper in Workington Cumbria.

The article described how GH and his family had been harassed by the local citizens because it was thought that GH was a German spy.        These events occurred in 1914.  GH was the principal of the local Technical College and not only was a fluent German speaker but believed very strongly that the Germans had a lot to teach the British about technical education.  He also had strange work habits and could be seen at various hours of the day and night prowling the college (sending messages to Germany?).  He also looked like Kaiser Wilhelm.  There is a lot more to the story and it lead me eventually to his descendants.

Many thanks to John for his hard work over the years!