Posts Tagged ‘OGS President Shirley Sturdevant’

Canada Census Preservation and Accessibility

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

In December, OGS President, Shirley Sturdevant, sent a letter to the Head Statistician for Statistics Canada with concerns about the preservation and accessibility of Canadian censuses. A copy of this letter was also sent to Hervé Déry, Acting Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Library and Archives Canada.

A letter of response from Marc Hamel, Director General, Census or Population Program (c.c.: Hervé Déry) was recently received. In it he discusses the stringent quality control used in microfilming the censuses and the part played by Library and Archives Canada. At the time of the release of the 1921 Canada Census through, some members indicated that the surnames or even surnames and given names were cut off in images for some townships where they were seeking ancestors. Mr. Hamel explains that a random check was done to review the quality of the digitized images but, since no defect was located, asked that specifics be provided to further direct their investigation. OGS asks that those currently aware of such instances send specific details to so the facts can be gathered and sent in one message.

Please take time to read Mr. Hamel’s letter, which can be viewed at, to learn about future plans for the preservation and release of census and the National Household Survey records for 2006 and beyond. Please note that third party information has been concealed and know that contact has been made with Library and Archives Canada on your behalf. See more below.

Also, be aware that, according to Mr. Hamel, the legislation governing the 92-year policy for releasing census information will be reviewed prior to the 2016 Census.

The Ontario Genealogical Society and the public-at-large need to consider all things related to the collection, preservation and release of census data in any form in order to be prepared for these discussions which will be debated in Parliament. Together, we must gather information and make informed recommendations. Together we must speak for those who will one day seek their ancestors as we have sought ours.

Fabien Lengellé, Director General Content Access Branch of LAC, explains that conditions and camera quality were less than perfect in the late 1950s when the census records to that date were microfilmed so it is not surprising that there might be errors. Their decisions for the 1921 census release will be the same for the 1931, 1941 and 1951 censuses. LAC views censuses as extremely important. They are trying to look at records being generated during our time and determine what people will want to see 100 years from now.

Commenting on the LAC decision to release the 1921 census through Ancestry, M. Lengellé, explained that Ancestry had 18 million visits to their site for those records almost immediately. The LAC site could never have handled that. LAC continues to work with a number of other companies to deliver information to researchers as quickly as possible.

OGS Open Forum with the President a Success

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

An Open Forum with OGS President Shirley Sturdevant was held at 7 PM on 8 January 2014. Participants set the topics and asked the questions.

Topics of discussion included: Family Day activities, accessibility initiatives, newsletter guidelines, transcriptions, vote on bylaws and call for candidates, OGS finances, membership fees, Families in electronic format, Digital Rights Management (DMR), webinar costs and promotion, Infant Home Records, OGS transparency, advocacy partnering with other provincial societies, Branches partnering to offer courses and Branch Facebook pages. Some participants suggested this type of forum be a regular event to keep members updated and to clarify Society happenings.

Reminder: Ontario Genealogical Society Open Forum

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Ontario Genealogical Society invites members and non-members to join in an online discussion with President, Shirley Sturdevant. Ask questions and make comments about the changing face of OGS and volunteer opportunities with the Society.

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
More information will follow.

This forum is open to anyone who is interested but you may express your interest and receive a reminder and your own copy of the login information by contacting the OGS provincial office at

Please use the subject line “OGS Open Forum.”

OGS President’s Update

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

President Shirley Sturdevant’s fall update is posted in the Members Only section of The Society web page under “Board Information for Members.” As part of the Board’s policy to increase transparency, the Board has made Society documents such as our Strategic Plan and Privacy Policy available to members and the public at the bottom of The Society’s homepage at

Members are also invited to view Board agendae and approved minutes in the Members Only “Board Information for Members” and to contribute to future agendae by contacting the president at president[@] Watch the online OGS calendar for upcoming meetings and read the President’s updates for more information on how to attend face-to-face or online Board Meetings.

Be informed; be involved.

FYI:Ontario Genealogy Society Open Forum

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

The Ontario Genealogical Society invites members and non-members to join in an online discussion with President, Shirley Sturdevant. Ask questions and make comments about the changing face of OGS and volunteer opportunities with the Society.

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
More information will follow.

This forum is open to anyone who is interested but you may express your interest and receive a reminder and your own copy of the login information by contacting the OGS provincial office at

Please use the subject line “GS Open Forum.”

Notice for Oxford County Branch Meeting

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Date: Monday, October 21, 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Woodstock Public Library, 445 Hunter St., Woodstock

Topic: “OGS Around the Province”

Speaker: Shirley Sturdevant

Brief Info: Shirley is the President of the Ontario Genealogical Society and former Chair of Kent Branch.

Contact Info:

Notice for Waterloo Region Branch Meeting

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Date: Thursday, September 12, 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 10 Lorraine Ave., Kitchener

Topic: “Writing a Family Narrative”

Looking to create a family history without getting bogged down in a huge published work? Discover a variety of ways to share the results of family research. Ideas include: family albums, newsletters, charts and outlines, historical overviews and timelines, Ancestor Walls, 1-or 2-page stories or biographies, larger published works and more. This session will help get your thoughts and materials prepared, give you ideas on how to organize and format your material and address the problem of finding time to write.

Speaker: Shirley Sturdevant, OGS President

Brief Info: Check the Branch website for updated information

Contact Info:

OGS President Addresses Partnership between LAC and Ancestry in Release of 1921 Canadian Census

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Genealogists with Canadian ancestry have been watching Library and Archives Canada (LAC) since they took custody of the 1921 Census of the Canadian population from Statistics Canada on June 1, 2013 after the required 92 years.  The Ontario Genealogical Society, along with many other organizations and individuals, sent letters to Library and Archives Canada, The Hon. Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada, The Hon. James Moore then Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and local Members of Parliament. We advocated for the protection of Library and Archives Canada and our Canadian archival documents and for the timely release of the census.  As President of The Ontario Genealogical Society and its 3500 members I offered to be a part of the consultation process.  Unfortunately all formal communication with parties outside of Library and Archives Canada ceased.  We were eventually told that dialogue was already in progress with a third party and that LAC was committed to making the 1921 Canada Census “rich and complex information accessible and available to all Canadians no matter where they live…”

On Thursday, August 8, 2013 LAC and Ancestry made separate announcements regarding their partnership to make this Canadian census available to the public.  At present, the census images can be browsed for free online at and users are told to return for updates since the collection will be indexed this year. To quote LAC, “Canadians will be required to pay for the extra convenience of doing advanced searches from their home.”  Free access will be available in person at Library and Archives Canada and through hundreds of libraries across Canada subscribing to

Although The Society is very pleased that these images are finally available to the public, we are concerned about its release through a subscription site. The lack of consultation with Canadian heritage organizations ignored their skills, experience and offers of assistance.  Details of the arrangement are still unfolding and we hope that answers to our questions will be forthcoming regarding the arrangement between Library and Archives Canada and Ancestry:

  • Was there no Canadian organization that could handle this?
  • Is this deal exclusive to Ancestry?
  • Has LAC given away its rights to use the digitized images later on their own web page, indexed or not?
  • Might other organizations have access to the images and produce their own indexes as has been done successfully in the past, perhaps then making the information free to all?
  • For how long will there be free access to the raw images or indexed information on the site?
  • Is there a limit to the number of years Ancestry will have the sole rights before the census might appear elsewhere or is this material solely in their hands?
  • What of access to the other census schedules?
  • Why have the microfilms or images not been available at Library and Archives Canada until now?

There are many unanswered questions being asked by our members and others in the heritage community.  We look forward to more details.

The 1921 Canada Census was taken at a very critical time in Canada’s history.  For many family researchers whose ancestors immigrated to Canada after the First World War, this is the first opportunity to have some insight into their families on North American soil.  For many born in other lands, birth and marriage records may be difficult to find.  This census provides a picture of the individuals and families who resided in Canada on June 1, 1921.  Responses to the 35 questions on the population schedule alone will possibly answer many questions about the family and perhaps provide leads to other sources.

Take advantage of these images to investigate your family in 1921.  Continue to be vigilant in helping to safeguard our heritage archival documents.  Together we represent those no longer living to ensure their lives and contributions to our country are not forgotten.  Speak for them whenever you see the need.

Shirley L. Sturdevant, President

The Ontario Genealogical Society


Notice for Kingston Branch AGM and 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Kingston Branch of the OGS is celebrating their 40th Anniversary.

Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013

Time: 10:00 am

Location: Wilson Room, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson St., Kingston (map)

Topic: Annual General Meeting & 40th Anniversary Celebration

Speaker: Shirley Sturdevant, President of the Ontario Genealogical Society

Contact Info:

Notice for Simcoe County Branch Meeting

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Date: October 6, 2012

Time: 2:00 pm

Location: (Change of Venue) Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Home, 30 Worsley St., Barrie

Title of Talk: “The Internet -  Another Genealogical Tool”

Speaker: Shirley Sturdevant, OGS President

Contact Info: