Friday, April 24, 2009

Going to Brockville Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I am going down to Brockville, a city about an hour and a half away from here (Ottawa) to attend the Region VIII AGM and Genealogy Fair being hosted by Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

The day-long meeting starts at 9:00 a.m., so we shall leave around 6:00 a.m., stop and have coffee, pick up another person and then travel along Highways 416 & 401 until we come to St. Lawrence College, where the genealogical day will be held.

There will be three speakers (Kees Van Den Heuval, Jessica Squires, and Dr. Timothy Abel) plus about 16 groups in the marketplace. I will attend the lectures and take pictures for the blog (I will tell you how it went next week) and for the OGS NewsLeaf and E-NewsLeaf.

It is suppose to be an early spring day, and the temperatures are supposed to go as high as 27 degrees Celsius, with afternoon thunderstorms thrown in for good measure - so it should be an interesting day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Genealogical Week in Review

I have been absent from the blog for a while because I have been busy writing articles, but here is a summary of some of the things which has happened this past week -

Ian S. Wilson Announces Retirement - Ian S. Wilson, the Chief Archivist and Librarian of the Library and Archives of Canada, is retiring April 24th.

This came somewhat as a surprise to genealogists, but he has been at the Library and Archives Canada since 1999 when he joined as National Archivist, and then became the Chief Librarian and Archivist in 2004 when the two institutions were united.

He says in his letter advising of his retirement that he will continue his work as President of the International Council of Archives.

The government will make an announcement shortly regarding his successor.

Ontario Genealogy Society's Call for Papers Conference 2010 - The Toronto Branch of the OGS will be hosting Conference 2010 and has called for papers for May 1st.

But recently, they have amended their "Call for Papers" in that the workshops they plan to hold for Italian and Dutch lecture streams will have until June 1, 2010 to submit their proposal for papers.

This extension is to allow for more complete outreach to these communities.

The deadline remains unchanged (1 May 2009) for submission of all other topics.

To read more details on Conference 2010, you should go to

Discount on British Columbia Membership - The Ontario Genealogy Society (OGS) has entered an arrangement with the British Columbia Genealogical Society (BCGS) in which you can belong to both societies with a $5.00 discount on your membership for both.

Remember, a couple of months ago a similar discount was announced with the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society's membership, and that seems to be going along quite nicely.

If you are a members of both societies or wish to be a member of both, you should phone 416.489.1734 or email <>. BCGS members should phone 604.502.9119 or email <>.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The British Columbia Genealogist Arrives

The March 2009 issue of The British Columbia Genealogist arrived safely on my doorstep the other day.

As usual, Diane Rogers (the editor), has done a fantastic job in putting the stories together plus all the news about the BC genealogical community.

It was interesting to read the essay that won the Most Improved Contest entitled, “Nock, Nock, and Nock Again” by Brenda Smith, as well as the two follow-up essays - “David James Gill Became A Home Child in Canada in 1871” by Judy Hassall, and “The Stanborough Family” by Brenda Perfitt Jensen.

There are three cementeries covered in this issue: the Veterans Cemetery, Esquimalt; the Rock Creek Cementery at Rock Creek; and Robinson Memorial Park Cementery in Coquitlam. The pictures of the cementeries are quite nice.

This issue also contains the 2009 Price List for their publications, as well as the schedule of things going on in the chapter.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A New Format!

Just like Families, the journal of the Ontario Genealogical Society, did last fall, the Spring issue of the Nova Scotia Genealogist has gone to the larger 8½” ×11” size with this issue <>.

As usual, there is something for everyone in the issue. I found the article on the diary of Murdoch Campbell Smith of Port Williams, Kings County by Carolyn McGrath insightful because he went to Horton Academy—eventually becoming Acadia University—which I attended in the late 1960s.

Secondly, he went to Oakland, California. I had relatives that went there around the same time, so I have a definite interest in that area.

I will be getting in contact with Carolyn to see if he wrote anything on my relatives since she said he wrote about his visits to other Nova Scotian families in the area.

Other articles included one on British Home Children; Pierre Cyr and His Family of Acadia; and one which explains the PERSI Index in the Allan County Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

They also mention the new “Members-Only” area of the GANS website, news items in the Bulletin Board; and their publications and reference books for sale at a very reasonable price.

I was pleased to see another genealogical journal go to the larger format - for me, it makes for easier reading and storage. I await the electronic version, which they may switch to in the future.

For the month of April, I plan to attend two genealogical meetings. The first one is the Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society’s <> meeting on April 21st, with guest speaker, Diane Burnett, the librarian of the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group <>.

The second one will be the day-long conference and Region VIII AGM for the Leeds Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in Brockville - about an hour and a half south of Ottawa. It will be held on Saturday, April 25th <>.

I will have information on both of these meetings as we get closer to the date.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gene-O-Rama 2009 - Wanderings

From the first break in the morning until early afternoon, I wandered around the Marketplace, and at some point, had lunch. This year, they had 30 vendors crammed into the rather small Ben Franklin Place Atrium to display their wares. I went around and visited nearly all of them in the short time I had.


Here are Sue (l) and Heather (the break and lunchtime ladies) as they prepare to set up the breaks and lunch-time food at the tables.
Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD

Since the OGS shared the space with people coming to the City Library, Heather and Sue had to make sure that only people with OGS Conference nametags could partake of the goodies.

They both did a great job and ought to be commended for the smiling faces that greeted us every time we went to the tables.


I stopped in at the Computer Room and they had a number of computers, and all were busy when I was there. People were looking for ancestors online at or at Find My Past, for example. Don Ross, who was handling the people there, said that the place was busy all day and that there was a good stream of people coming and going.

Don Ross, assisting those in the Computer Room.
Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD


I stopped and talked to Ana Ghia-Pereira (l) and Shirley Ann Pyefinch and at the FHL table. They are going to have a "Discovering Our Ancestors" Family History Fair on Saturday, May 2nd from 1:30 to 4:30. For more information, please visit their website at
Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD


And I also took a minute to visit the Moorshead Magazines table, where I said "Hi" to Ed Zapletal.

He is their new owner and editor since Halvor Moorshead retired last year. I saw where he had the latest "Google you Family Tree" book by Daniel Lynch for sale. They have the exclusive rights to sell the book in Canada, and Ed said that Daniel might come to Oakville for the OGS Conference held at the end of May. For more on this book, visit


I talked to Derek Hopkins and crew at the Quebec Family History Society table and asked how the planning for the International Conference 2010, called "Roots Heritage", is coming along, and they said "just great". They are looking forward to having everybody come down next year to Montreal when the conference will be held in June.

Please note that all the lectures will be in English. For details, visit the Society at


The Kingston Branch of the OGS was there, and they said that they are busy putting their cemeteries online. The Carleton Branch of the United Empire Loyalists was also there, and they had a great many books on Loyalists ancestors. This summer, the Loyalists conference will be held in Adolphustown, near Trenton, Ontario.


And you just have to see the water flowers that were in bloom in the Atrium. I don't know what kind of flowers they are - but aren't they pretty?
Credit - J.M. Lapointe, CD

Next year, the conference will be held March 26th and 27th at the Library and Archives Canada. For more on the conference, visit

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gene-O-Rama 2009 - Saturday

Saturday was going to be a fun day because I was going to hear the lectures about the "Canadian Genealogy Centre" by Sara Chatfield, "Getting the Most from City Directories ..." by Mel Wolfgang, and Terry Findley's talk on "Cold Case: Hot Tips" plus go around to various vendors and talk to them to see how business was in the Marketplace. And if I had time, I wanted to go to the computer room to see how things were going there.

The first lecture I went to was one given by the LAC's Sara Chatfield on "The Canadian Genealogy Centre in 2009".

Sara Chatfield of Library and Archives Canada

Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD

First, the room was too small, with all the people that were there. Exta chairs were needed to take care of those that came to this very popular session, and for those that popped in after it began. Luckily for those left standing, OGS volunteer Heather Oakley—ever cheerful—came through with a bunch of chairs, and they were very much appreciated!

So we settled down to hear her talk on the Centre and what was new for 2009.

Sara said that since the large databases have already been put online, they are busy now putting on the smaller ones, and filling in the gaps in the databases already online.

When asked about newspapers, she said there weren't any plans to put them on right away, which left a few of us with a somewhat unsatisfied feeling.

She also said that "tagging" was becoming more important (adding your own comments to photos and videos on and, for example) on the new Web 2.0.

There were lots of questions, especially about how to get in touch with the LAC through email. People also seemed to be a bit confused as to the available hours, and how to use the website correctly.

I then took a break (I will write about whom I visited tomorrow) until just before one o'clock, and then I went to hear Mel Wolfgang talk about "Getting the Most from City Directories ...", in which he traced the development of the directory throughout the ages.

Mel Wolfgang, owner of Jonathan Sheppard Books of Albany, New York

Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD

In Canada, you can go to the Canadian Directories, 1790-1987: a Bibliography and Place-name Index. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1989 (3 vols) and it will give you the complete listing of directories in Canada.

Directories are very useful in the "in-between" census years, for it can tell you where they were living, what they were doing, etc.

Mel said to take the time to discover the various sections of the directories because you can learn about local government, churches, and fraternal groups. He says that you can learn much by "digging deep down" in directories.

At the end of the day, it was time to hear Terry Findley talk about "Cold Case: Hot Tips" where he discussed several instances in his own family history where he thought he had a "cold case", but through the use of "hot tips", was able to solve the mystery.

Some of the points he made were -

Review your notes - you may have copied down the wrong placename
Think the process - the process of seaching for someone
Believe that the information is there - you just have to look for it
Be aware of oral family history - often times itis folklore
Always be aware of unsourced family histories - where did they get those dates from
Always check the back of pictures - is there anything written on the back of it