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OGS Genealogy Webinar Series

A Webinar is a Web-based Seminar – a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web.

All OGS Webinars are available for free to members in good standing of the Ontario Genealogical Society.
Members access webinars on the appropriate date and time by signing into the OGS member account and selecting the Attend Webinar link.

Geography no longer matters as those with like interests join in instructional or educational presentations with genealogical focus. This initiative is made possible through The Society's agreement with The National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

How to attend an OGS Webinar.

2015 Webinar Series

January: In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors

Speaker: Christine Woodcock

While many people want to know more about their Scottish heritage, they don't know where to begin. Fortunately, researching our Scottish ancestors is a fairly easy task. Knowing where to look is usually where we get tied up. This talk will get you started in researching your Scottish ancestry as well as how to make the most of your research.

February: Nifty and Powerful Technologies

Speaker: Ron Arons

This presentation will discuss and demonstrate cool tools for genealogical analysis and documentation, including language translation tools, timelines, timelines with maps, genograms, mindmaps, and video capture tools.

You will learn about

  • language translation tools like OmniPage (for OCR), ABBYY FineReader, and Google Translate.
  • timeline tools , including,,,, and Aeion Timeline (PCs,
  • timeline products that work with maps , including,, and
  • mindmapping tools , including: FreeMind, XMind, MindJet MindManager, SimpleMind,,, and
  • genogram (family diagram) software , including: GenoPro, Genogram Analytics, iGenogram, and MobileFamilyTree.
  • video capture tools , including Snaglt and Camtasia.
March: 7 Ways to Use the Cloud

Speaker: Jennifer Alford

This session will include explanations of what the cloud can do for you and ways to protect your privacy. These 7 ways that you can use the cloud to make your personal research more effective will also make it easier to share with other generations of your family. The cloud can also be a great resource for “crowd sourcing.” Volunteers all around the world can access scans of documents and provide invaluable transcribing and indexing efforts.

Topics to be covered include photo sharing (Flickr, Dropbox,) file sharing (Dropbox, Google Drive,) note sharing (Evernote, OneNote, Growly Notes [Mac],) tree sharing (WikiTree, Ancestry, Geni,) audio sharing (SoundCloud, AudioBoo,) video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo,) and story sharing (blog platforms, Saving Memories Forever and other apps like it.)

April: The Everyday Life of Our Ancestors

Speaker: Ann Stanley

Our ancestors led lives, just like us – only different. Using our life as an example, how can we parallel it to theirs? They ate and drank, married and had families, dressed, had trades and occupations, practiced a religion, dabbled in the arts and sciences, participated in politics and economics, etc. This lecture will examine the various aspects of life and provide resources to discover the historical context and personal details of our ancestors’ lives.

May: Research Logs and Plans for Every Genealogist

Speaker: Lisa Alzo

Through examples, learn how to set up and maintain easy-to-use research plans and logs you can access no matter where you are. Session will demonstrate key steps such as deciding on a format (Excel spreadsheet, Google Drive, or Evernote) creating the columns you’ll need, designing the document, entering information, and using and maintaining the database.

June: Creating and Maintaining a Family History Blog

Speaker: Shannon Combs-Bennett

Blogs are a quick, easy, and cheap way to share your family history. Not only with your close family but with the world at large. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the key to creating a successful blog is persistence and care. In this presentation you will learn ways to create a blog and then, most importantly, keep it going.

July: After You’ve Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research

Speaker: Thomas MacEntee

Have you ever considered what will happen to your years of genealogy research once you’re gone? Learn how to ensure that your hard work carries on. Through a combination of planning, common sense, and new technologies, we’ll review how to create an action plan for preserving your genealogy research.

August: Canadian Copyright for Family Historians

Speaker: Kathryn Lake Hogan

What you don’t know about copyright might hurt you. Learn about intellectual property rights and how the Copyright Act of Canada affects you as a family history researcher.

September: Simple Steps to Writing Your Ancestors’ Biographies

Speaker: Tammy Tipler-Priolo

This lecture will give you a simple approach to writing biographies for your ancestors with birth, wedding, and obituary announcements plus much more.

We will cover

  • getting to know your subject through interviews, records, and family stories
  • tools to help you get organized
  • start writing
  • verify your information, cite your sources, proofread and share
October: Every Surname in Your Pedigree Can Benefit From YDNA Testing

Speaker: Diahan Southard

YDNA testing should be the first genetic tool in every genealogist’s toolbox. The YDNA test will produce two kinds of information: a YDNA profile, and a prediction of your deep ancestral group, or haplogroup. One can help you research your ancestral connections, and the other your deep ancestral heritage (and learn how the two are working together better than ever before to strengthen your pedigree chart!)

How can all that help be contained in a list of numbers? Come learn how these numbers are the key to your genealogical success. Be prepared to be surprised as you CAN learn how to use them. We will cover database searching, SNP testing, and project membership, to name just a few topics. We will go over some examples of how individuals and families have used YDNA testing in their genealogical research. Give your pedigree a jumpstart with YDNA.

November: Navigating the Best Online Resources for Irish Research

Speaker: Donna Moughty

Many looking to research their Irish ancestors are discouraged hearing that you can’t do Irish research because all the records burned. Although the loss of records in the Public Records Office fire in 1922 was devastating, many of the surviving records researchers have depended on are now available online. In addition, collections which have been inaccessible in the past, have been digitized and indexed providing additional resources for experiences researchers.

December: Names, Names, Names

Speaker: Vicki McKay

Finding our ancestors and relatives would be so much easier if their names appeared the same in all the records. However, that rarely occurs. First names may change from record to record, and in some cases, infinite surname spellings seems to abound. We will look at the many different forms that given names (initials, short forms, long forms, alternate spellings, multiple names, nicknames, and name changes) and surnames can take and the name variations (e.g. ethnic differences) that can stop us from finding even the simplest of names.

Follow through examples to see the ins and outs of how to find your person of interest in the records by looking at all the options connected with them, and failing that, by searching for everyone but them and/or the locations where they should be. In the process, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of the soundex system and how to improve upon it. We will also talk about the benefits of thinking phonetically and in other languages. Lastly, we will also learn how to apply deductive reasoning to recognize your relative in the records even when they aren’t listed by their known name(s.) Let’s find those hidden relatives!

Attending A Webinar

  • Webinars are presented using Adobe Connect. Attendees do not need to download anything to their computers to take part in a Webinar.
  • First time attendees should consider checking their system using the Adobe Connect program.
  • Webinars are recorded and will be archived in the OGS Members Only area for members who were not able to attend on the webcast date.