Sunday, May 31, 2009

OGS Conference '09 Ends!

Well, the fun is over - Conference '09 ended at 3:00 this afternoon, with the news that next years' conference will be held May 14-16 at the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Toronto Airport.

So it's farewell to Oakville and the many friends I leave behind for yet another year.

I'll be on the road all day tomorrow, going back to Ottawa, and I will blog more about the conference and its sessions the rest of the week.

Day 3 - Conference '09

This is the last day, and although a bit tired because of yesterday's hectic schedule and last night's banquet, we are here early this morning at the computer room, still searching for ancestors.

I am going back to the Marketplace to get information on next year's conference in Toronto, to be held May 14 to 16. This afternoon, at 2:15, the closing remarks and final goodbyes will be held.

I am going to spend some time at the OGS Publications Table (as editor of NewsLeaf and its sister email publication, e-NewsLeaf).

And as a representative of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) — in my capacity as International Director — I am letting others know what a great organization it is for writers

I will posting more on this conference in the next few days.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

**NEWSFLASH** - OGS Accepts Fee Increase

Just a few minutes ago, the attending members of the Ontario Genealogical Society, at their AGM, voted overwhelmingly to increase membership dues from $45 to $60 a year, beginning next year.

More to follow on this ...

Friday, May 29, 2009

''Accident" Today at OGS Conference '09

... what you get when you mix a conference, a festive atmosphere, rabid genealogists, a graduation ceremony, a librarian, coffee, and a chair ...

Conference attendee, Marian Press, reacts to casualty.

Friday Afternoon at OGS Conference '09

Up-and-coming blogging superstar, John D. Reid (on the right), of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog <>—fresh from his trip from Ottawa—is enjoying a fine cold-plate supper with fellow genealogist and guest speaker, Gary Schroder of the Quebec Family History Society <>.

This is the culmination of a very exciting afternoon, filled with a visit to the Marketplace (again) to see more newly-arrived exhibitors, the chance to meet more acquaintances, a workshop hosted by the Irish Palatine special Interest Group (IP-SIG), and the graduation ceremony of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies <> (more to follow on these activities).

We're now off in a mad rush to the opening ceremonies!

Conference '09 - Marketplace - Day 1

So, here is an update on the Marketplace, and some pictures.

Dr. Fraser Dunford, Executive Director of the OGS, putting in some work at the conference, setting up the OGS kiosk -

- and John Becker, editor of OGS journal, Families, is putting final touches on his display at our OGS Publications Table.

Finally! Conference '09 Begins!

It began with a bit of a rocky start, with breakfast not to begin until 8 o'clock, and people were expecting it to begin at 7, but a compromise was reached, and it was started after 7:30. However, once started, it was a lovely breakfast, served in the cafeteria of the College - a very tasty continental breakfast, fuelling hungry genealogists ready for their morning's activities.

Ticket takers for this morning's breakfast were: (L) Joan Phillips and (R) Judy Payne, both from the Peel Branch.

Then we went to register, which was well-organized and efficient, and we were out of there in less than a minute. Lines were going fast.

We met a few old friends, and introduced ourselves to some new ones.

Now to go through the bag to check all the goodies, and then we're off to the Marketplace to check on the OGS Publications Table, to see how John Becker, editor of the OGS journal, Families, and Grace Jewell, OGS Webmaster, are doing. I will be there Sunday.

Note that there are two (2) Marketplaces this year, and we are starting with Marketplace #1. Can't wait to see what awaits us!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

FLASH! LAC Announces New Genealogy Collections

From Slyvie Tremblay, Chief, Canadian Genealogy Centre (as of 1130 hrs, 28 May 2009)


I am pleased to announce that new pages are available on the Canadian Genealogy Centre website as of this morning.

You will now find information on Jewish ( and Polish ( in the What to Search : Topics : Ethno-cultural and Aboriginal Groups section.

Also, we now have a page about Heraldry ( in the What to Search : Topics : Other Topics section.”

Pre-OGS Conference '09 (Post 1)

We finally made it to Oakville!

It took us all day yesterday (Wednesday) to get here, but we’re settled in now, and are ready to do a day of research at the neighbouring city of Burlington.

This morning, while having breakfast, we met some fellow OGS members. They were talking about the conference, and this morning’s Chairs Meeting, where they will talk about what has happened over the year in their individual branches, and will discuss this year’s upcoming year.

One Chair has completely digitized her branch’s newsletters, and they will appear on the OGS website for interested parties to buy <>.

Another woman talked about going to the “new” Ontario Archives <> yesterday, and was looking for her uncle, which she, unfortunately, did not find. But she gave the Archives top marks for having the information organized, in a much better fashion than found at their old location.

So it’s off to Burlington with our friend, June Coxon, to search for her ancestor, Charles HALES. The first place we’ll hit will be the library, and with any luck, will then head for the cemetery, with the hopes of finding his gravestone and tying up the loose ends of that family, thus making the trip a success!

‘til the next blog …

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OGS Conference '09 - Day 3

On day 3 at the conference (Sunday), my wandering days will be over for me as I will be at the OGS Publications Table all day - well, until the conference closes at 2:15 in the afternoon.

It has been a busy week for me, doing my regular work plus helping to plan the table - but I think we are ready to go.

This will be my last blog from home, but we are ready to try a new smartphone during this trip and conference - so I will be in touch.

We will wrap up on Sunday afternoon and then it will be a travelling day for me on Monday. We have to be back, as my husband is going to a conference the next weekend.

See you at the conference!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Plans for OGS Conference '09 - Day 2

Day 2 will find me in the Plenary Session at 8:00 in the morning. Will I be awake enough to see what's going on? That is the question!

I know that it will be at this session that the dreaded "rate increase" — as John Reid at his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog <> has been writing about — will be brought up.

The proposed increase for yearly membership will be $15.00 (making it $60.00 per year), and I wondered what the reaction will be because I don't know - I suspect that people already have made up their minds. We shall see. You will be the first to know - I will be Twittering from the conference!

After that session is over, I will be going to hear a panel discussion on "From the Printed Page to the Digital Age: The Professionals", which will be moderated by Sharon Murphy. Panelists include Susanna de Groot and Tammy Priolo — both graduates from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies; Brian Gilchrist, the Archivist at the Region of Peel Archives; Janice Nickerson, who has her M.A. in History and a website at <>; and author and lecturer, Ruth Burkholder.

The rest of the day I will be in the Marketplace talking to people and seeing what is new this year. Then, I will be at the banquet to hear Charlotte Gray talk about Alexander Graham Bell and his love of genealogy.

Sounds like a full day to me!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

OGS Conference '09

As many of you know, I will be Twittering and blogging from this year's conference! The first time an OGS conference has been covered in this manner!

The conference will be held from May 29th to June 1st in Oakville (part of Toronto), with well over 700 attendees.

Friday morning — after we register — I will be off to the marketplace while other people will be going on a tour of the NEW Ontario Archives.

In the afternoon, I will be covering the Irish Palatines, where Hank Jones will speak (he has written much about the Palatines), and after that, I will attend the graduation ceremony of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, which is, by the way, celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The opening ceremonies will be held in the evening, and well-known genealogist Kory L. Meyerink will give the J. Richard Houston Memorial Lecture, with a reception to follow.

So watch for my Twitters and keep an eye for the blogs - I'll see you at the conference!

Friday, May 22, 2009

OGS "NewsLeaf" is here

The pre-Conference NewsLeaf is here!

This is a long issue (30+ pages) as it contains a report from each of the branches, plus a report from each of the regional directors, plus financial statements, plus a report on all the things that went on at last year's Conference, plus, plus, plus. Phew!

To say the least, I am usually spent by the time it is done and I take a couple of days off to recover, but this year, I was totally booked in writing magazine articles - so no time off for me!

They are good publications (if I must say so myself) - Families and NewsLeaf. This November, I will have been the editor for three years - it seems like I just put out my second edition, but in truth, it will be my 10th one!

And if you are coming to Conference 2009, be sure to drop by our table. Yes, we will have a table this year. It will be alongside the OGS table, but we will be clearly marked as "OGS Publications".

Grace Jewell, the OGS Webmaster, and John Becker, the editor of Families, will be there on Saturday. And I (Elizabeth Lapointe), the editor of NewsLeaf and e-NewsLeaf, will be there on Sunday.

If you haven't signed up to receive e-Newsleaf, be sure to do that - it is included in your yearly membership dues. There will be a sheet that you can put your email address on it if you haven't already subscribed at the "Members Only" section of the OGS website <>.

So far, only about 80% of members have sent in their addresses, and we would like to see everybody join up, as there are links for access to the great databases that the OGS has already published, and for the new ones that will be coming soon. So sign up - you'll be glad you did!

This year, I will be representing the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors in my capacity as the International Director, and it's a great organization. I will have a handout available for all, detailing the ISFHWE group, and its benefits. The website address is <>.

So come on over and say "Hello!" to myself, John, and Grace. We would be pleased to see you.

If you would like to send in an article or a family history to be published, be sure to come and see us.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

LAC Appoints New Librarian/Archivist

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has appointed the new Chief Librarian and Archivist. It is Dr. Daniel J. Caron, who transferes to the job from being the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister. He has been with the LAC since its inception a number of years ago.

His appointment was effective April 27, 2009.

Meanwhile, I see where the former Librarian/Archivist, Ian E. Wilson, has taken an appointment with the University of Waterloo at their new research facility in Stratford, Ontario.

He will be a strategic advisor to the new University of Waterloo Startford Institute of Arts and Culture. It will build the next generation in technology to digitize media products and services.

Both Dr. Caron and Ian are to be congratulated on their new positions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

AGM and Genealogy Fair in Brockville

Brockville, Ontario — on the shore of the lovely St. Lawrence River — was the city where the AGM of Region VIII of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and Genealogy Fair was held Saturday, 25 April at St. Lawrence College. It was hosted by the Leeds and Grenville Branch of the OGS <>.

The first presentation was by Kees Van Den Heuval and he gave a talk on the options available to genealogists for digitizing and restoring photographs entitled, "A Primer on Digitizing and Restoring Photographs for Genealogists".

He went into quite a bit of detail on how to restore photographs, which was of interest to us, for I have a number of photos that have to be restored. My husband and I were madly taking notes, and afterwards, members asked quite a few questions as everybody seemed quite interested in how to restore old photos.

Patti Mordasewicz, Chair of the Leeds and Grenville Branch of the OGS, thanks Kees Van Den Heuval for his presentation at the Genealogy Fair.
Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD

After lunch, we listened to Jessica Squires from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) give a talk on the "Indian Affairs" RG 10 Records held at the LAC, called "Aboriginal and Natural Resources Division on Aboriginal Research". The website for these records is located at <>.

She said that among other things, they have treaty paylists, band membership paylists, and enfranchisement lists at the LAC. They also have military records, census records, vital records, and social records.

She also gave a short history of the department and the reclassification of regional offices within the department, and steps to use to overcome this challenge.

She suggested that we all consult the book by Bill Russell entitled, "Records of The Federal Department Of Indian Affairs At The National Archives Of Canada".

Patti Mordasewicz, Chair of the Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, thanks Jessica Squires after her talk to the people at the Brockville Genealogy Fair.
Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD

The third and final presentation was by Professor Tim Abel, who presented a very lively talk on a special archeology dig he did a couple of years ago for a large Realtor who wanted to build on the outskirts of Watertown, Jefferson County, New York — right across the river from Brockville.

The city requested that a survey be done on the land first and it was known that a farm land had been there before, but very little evidence had been found about what had happened to it.

Tim was hired to go start an archaeology dig there, and found the house had caught on fire in the late 1800s and burnt down!

He was unable to find the descendants of the Earl family but he was able to take over 6,000 objects from the area. They have been classified and put in a museum in the area.

The Realtor built its store on the property - but in front of the store there is a spot where the farm house once stood. It is undeveloped, with uncut grass growing there in the summertime.

Patti Mordasewicz, Chair of the Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, says her "thank you's" to Tim Abel for his interesting talk at the Brockville Genealogy Fair.

Credit: J.M. Lapointe, CD

We had an enjoyable trip to Brockville and found St. Lawrence College quite easily and went in to register. There were a dozen or so vendors and groups represented in the marketplace, and they seemed to be doing a brisk business.

We had a wonderful lunch of hot soup and sandwiches served in the cafeteria. And at a table just as you entered the marketplace, there were homemade squares of every description, and coffee and tea that you could have at anytime.

It was a most wonderful day, and we had a nice trip back to town in about an hour and a half. That night, we had a most terrific storm with wind and thunder that caused trees to fall and much damage to roofs on houses and barns, in Ottawa and surrounding area. It was later classified as a tornado.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anglo-Celtic Roots Arrives!

The spring edition of Anglo-Celtic Roots arrived the other day, and I can see by the advertisement put in the latest issue that plans for the fall conference are well underway.

This year's conference is to be held from Sept 18th to the 20th and will feature a Scottish focus this year. Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland, will speak on two topics - "Scotland's Demographic History since Victorian Times" and "How to Find Your Own Scottish Ancestors".

Colleen Fitzpatrick from California is the author of Forensic Genealogy. I heard her speak at last year's OGS Conference in London, and she is fantastic.

There will be many other speakers, as well. And on Friday, there will be a special intermediate course given in genealogy, a tour of the Library and Archives of Canada, and a Family Tree Maker workshop.

This will be their 15th Annual Fall Conference, and according to President Mary Ann Sharpe, many are taking advantage of the "on-line" membership and conference registration available at the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa website <> - almost 40 percent!

Meanwhile, there are five articles in this issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots and they are -

"The Luck of the Scots" - an article by Carol Annett in which she writes about her husband's grandfather, John Alexander (Jack) MacKinnon, and the finding of his gravemarker besides the ruins of St. Raphael's Church.

"Doors Open and There is My Great-great-grandfather", by Irene Kellow Ip, tells the story of how she discovered the baptismal and marriage record of Patrick Mackin by telling a fellow researcher about him at an "Doors Open" event in Ottawa.

"Simplified Publishing of Military Research" by Norma O'Toole is an article about Norman Johnson of the 405 Pathfinder Squadron of Vancouver and how Norma discovered his war service.

"Don't Believe All You Read" by John Sayers is about an article read by John in the 1922 issue of the Montreal Gazette in which four children were drowned near Grosse Île.

"Secret Secretaries" by Ilana Reimer is an article about Dorothy May Helm about her grandmother who worked as a Secret Secretary for William Stephenson (the man who ran the Second World War Office, called the British Security Coordination, or BSC).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

IOOF Database

The Ontario Genealogical Society <> has recently put the Independent Order of Oddfellow (IOOF) index online. Nearly thirteen years ago, the application papers were donated to the OGS. It represents nearly 60,000 Canadian men who obtained life insurance from this plan.

This is the third database that the Ontario Genealogical Society has made available to their "Members only" site, the two other being the Strays Database and the Church Histories of the London Roman Catholic Diocese.

Each application is four pages long and includes such genealogical information as the name of a beneficiary and the person's relationship to the applicant, the age and health of siblings and parents (although their names are rarely mentioned), and other letters and notes attached to the applicants.

The database contains the applicant's name, date of birth, and location when the application was made, and the application date and number.

I checked the database for a couple of surnames and found that you can write to the OGS if you want any of the files on the database (the 100 year rule applies for health reasons, so only papers piror to 1909 can be released) for $10.80, which includes tax. The money will go to the preservation of the project.

You can write to them at 40 Orchard View Blvd, Suite 102, Toronto, ON M4R 1B9, or send them an email at <>.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Saturday was a Treat!

We were in for a treat last Saturday when we attended the annual FHC Genealogy Fair at their location on Prince of Wales Drive near Dow's Lake and the Experimental Farm. The website for the Family History Center in Ottawa is <>.

The treat turned out to be a dual presentation by Ottawa genealogists Glenn Wright (BIFHSGO member) and Lesley Anderson (with on the Canadian Census.

They made the comment that they didn't think it had been done before - and I honestly don't think it has. They have taken a rather dull subject and have turned it into something fun and interesting - and if they present it again (which I hope they will), you should not miss it.

As Glenn and Leslie pointed out, census have been taken in Canada since 1666! They went through the history of the census as it was in Canada, paying special attention to the censuses since 1871 - the first national census in Canada.

The 1871 Canadian Census is still complete at the Library and Archives Canada (it wasn't discarded after it was microfilmed), and it has many different schedules of interest (e.g. the agricultural and industrial census is attached).

They stopped and looked at the 1906 and 1916 censuses of Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta) and noticed how complete they are - they are on

In the 1916 census, it has who was away on the First World War overseas, and people were asked the country of their birth to make sure the government was keeping track of immigration.

The 1911 Canadian Census was the last one made public before the next census of 1921 (which is due to be made public in 2013 - 92 years after it was taken) is also on It is the year when people were asked what year they came to Canada - again, to keep track of immigration.

Leslie said that all Canadian census will be on the Internet at next month - the 10th of June.

I spent my break times answering questions on the Loyalists who came to Canada because I am descendent for them on both sides of the family, and also answered questions about the Ontario Genealogical Society because I am their newsletter editor.

Therefore, I didn't have time to go to the "cultural room" to see who was there at the table, although my husband went there, and said that BIFHSGO and the City of Ottawa Archives were there, to name a few.

It was time very well-spent, and Shirley Ann Pyefinch and her group are to be congratulated for putting together another successful fair, and for making us feel at home.

They should go "on the road" with their presentation, which they gave Saturday at the FHC Genealogy Fair in Ottawa.

Credit: Mario Lapointe, CD