Thursday, September 30, 2010

Workshop - The Women in Our Past

Elayne Lockhart reminds us of an upcoming workshop co-hosted by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library.


Hi everyone.

If you’ve been thinking of coming to the workshop on November 6th, The Women in Our Past: Strategies and Resources for Researching Female Ancestors, I’m happy to tell you that even though the end of September has crept up on you, you haven’t missed the Early Bird deadline. We have extended it to next Monday, October 4th.

We hope to see many members there. We know that our speakers are going to be providing some great strategies to help us all learn to research “outside the box”.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vankleek Hill Family & Local History Day

Saturday, October 2nd will be Family & Local History Day at Vankleek Hill - a village about an hour's drive from Ottawa, right next to the town of Hawkesbury.

In the morning are talks given by the Ontario Genealogical Society and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa on genealogical research. The afternoon session features and and their Library Edition, as well as a Q&A session for advanced genealogy. The Quebec Family History Society will also be there.

To register for either genealogy session, call the Champlain Public Library at 613.678.2216, or visit them online at

There will be special sessions on the Tweedsmuir Histories, heirloom furniture, exhibits at the museum, a quilt shop, Gaelic lessons, and a Masonic Lodge tour. Even stuff for kids.

The Review newspaper will have a special exhibit all day long at the newspaper office. The paper is putting its archives online then—with free access all day—and their will be special guided tours of the Old Jail in L'Orignal.

Go to their site at

I will be there Saturday (all day), and if you see me - be sure to say "Hello!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

OGS Appoints Assistant Executive Director

From the OGS' e-Announce comes news that Sarah Newitt has been appointed as the Assistant Executive Director.

Congratulations, Sarah!


September 24, 2010

Assistant Executive Director Appointed

The Board of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Newitt as Assistant Executive Director. She will become Executive Director next April, on the retirement of the current Executive Director, Dr. Fraser Dunford

Sarah, age 28, has been the Society's Librarian for the past year. She holds a BA in German from Queen's and a MLIS from McGill. She has worked in a number of libraries in Ontario and in Montreal. She has had a life-long association with Girl Guides. A native of Mount Albert Ontario, she has lived in Japan, India and Germany.

She inherited family history projects from her father's father and her mother's mother (a project that requires fluency in German). One of her ambitions is to prove a suspected UEL link.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Passing of John Becker, Editor, OGS Families

From John Becker's wife, Gwenne, comes this news -

"Dear friends and colleagues of John's:

I am saddened to tell you that John passed away on Wednesday, September 22, 2010. His cancer had caused him much pain in the last few months. However, he still enjoyed bantering with the nurses at Princess Margaret Hospital and he became a favourite on the floor.

I have attached an expanded version of the obituary that appeared in the Globe & Mail this morning.



John Adams Becker

July 18, 1932 – September 22, 2010

We honour the passing of loving husband, father, mentor, and dear friend on Wednesday September 22, 2010.

John was a man of passion, commitment, and an ethic of making a difference. In addition to a long career in university administration, he devoted much of his life energy to volunteer work.

Hart House was a major influence in his life and work during his years at the University of Toronto (SPS 5T5) and after, first as a member of the Finnish Exchange program, then as Undergraduate Secretary. He continued his administrative career at McMaster and York Universities from which he retired in 1989.

York was a formative experience for John. He spent over 20 years in various capacities and developed numerous long-term friendships which continued into retirement. The York community was a passion for him and retirement begged the question “was there life after York”.

He was happy to find a very fulfilling life after his retirement. He worked in the family firm, Becker Associates, and was instrumental in steering it in new directions. He also had time to indulge his love of researching family trees, and to develop a new passion for water colouring. Recently he served as volunteer editor of Families, the journal of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

John’s prostate cancer was first diagnosed in 1997 and was kept in check by the wizards at Princess Margaret Hospital during the years since then. Only in early 2010 did he begin to have any symptoms. For the last few weeks he was in the care of the loving staff at the Palliative Care Unit at PMH. Our family cannot thank them enough for the comfort they provided to John and to us.

John leaves his loving wife of 54 years and best friend, Gwenne (née Belsten), daughter Christina, and sons Adam (Benoit Desmarais), and Paul (Christian Garate), grandchildren Carolina, Max, and Lorraine. He also leaves his brother Dean (Lois Kelly Becker) and twin brother Keith (Neil Macvicar).

The absence of his energy, good humour, and caring will leave a large hole in our lives.

A private family service and cremation have been held. On October 13 a celebration of John’s life will be held at Trinity St. Paul’s at 427 Bloor St. West, Toronto, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

If friends and family wish to make a donation in John’s memory, the family would ask that it be made to the Hart House Finnish Exchange, University of Toronto.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New LAC Database - "Upper Canada Land Petitions"

Just received within the hour from Sylvie Tremblay of Library and Archives Canada -

Launch of "Upper Canada Land Petitions"

Ottawa, 23 September, 2010 - Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online database, "Upper Canada Land Petitions (1763–1865)".

Through this online database, researchers can access more than 77,000 references to petitions for grants or leases of land created done by individuals who lived in present-day Ontario between 1763 and 1865.

The database is available at:

About Library and Archives Canada

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

The Genealogy Services include all physical and online genealogical services of Library and Archives Canada. They offer genealogical content, services, advice, research tools and opportunities to work on joint projects, all in both official languages.

The contributions of many LAC staff were instrumental in the success of this project, and their efforts are much appreciated.

For more information, please contact

Friday, September 3, 2010

OGS Announces New Editor of "Families"

Note: The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) is the largest genealogical society in Canada. And I am proud to have been appointed (and to serve) as the editor of its journal, Families. - Elizabeth

"As released to OGS members in an e-Announce, August 14, 2010

The Board of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Lapointe as editor of the Society’s journal Families.

A graduate of Acadia University, Elizabeth is an author, journalist, and blogger. She has been editor of the OGS newsletter NewsLeaf since 2006 and is the founding editor of its electronic sister publication e-NewsLeaf. She is a Past President of the Ottawa Chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, and a Director of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. She is the author of several books on genealogy and of hundreds of newspaper and online articles on genealogy and local history.

She is the guest editor for the August issue of Families and will assume full editorship with the November issue. "