Thursday, March 19, 2009

Genealogy Fair

Leeds & Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society (OGS) will be holding their AGM and Genealogy Fair on April 25th at St. Lawrence College in Brockville.

It will be an all-day affair from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. They will have three speakers -

- Kees Van den Heuval will talk about digitizing and storing photographs;

- Jessica Squires will speak about the "Indian Affairs" records at the Library and Archives Library; and

- Timothy J. Abel will talk Research in New York State and the movement across the St. Lawrence.

The cost is $20.00 per person (lunch included) and will be held at the St. Lawrence College, 2288 Parkedale Avenue in Brockville.

I will be going to cover it for the OGS newsletter, NewsLeaf.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Petition to Protect Ontario's Inactive Cemeteries

This past Saturday, I — along with others at the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) — signed a petition to support the passing of "An Act to Protect Ontario's Inactive Cemeteries, 2009".

That is Bill 149, and it was introduced by Mr. Jim Brownell, MPP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry.

Bob Crawford, the past-president of the Ontario Genealogical Society, is quite heavily involved with the cause, and if you want some background information on the plight of cemeteries in Ontario, you can read some of his comments in the May 2008 NewsLeaf (Vol 38 No 2) in an article entitled. "A Thank-You, a Plea, and a Goodbye ...".

To get a copy of the petition, visit the Bill 149 Petition at the OGS website. Get people to sign it and then forward it to the OGS Provincial Office, #102-40 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, ON M4R 1B9.

This must be done before the summer recess so that the bill does not die. It is now going to the committee and then it will, hopefully, come back for the Third Reading, and then will be passed before the legislature is adjourned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Irish Genealogy Night - Part III

Lesley Anderson from and Brian Glenn from BIFHSGO rounded out this special evening with a very informative talk on where to search for an immigrant ancestor.

Lesley stressed that you should start your search in the land that they migrated to - in this case, Canada.

She had listed 19 records she would check, but the two most important are BMDs (birth, marriage & death certificates) and census. One can use both of these records to cross-check against each other to verify birthdays, where the person was living, whether the person was married or not, his occupation, etc.

She explained that was launched in January 2006, and to date, close to 410-million records have been put on the site.

The Vital Statistics of Ontario can be checked on This summer, two more years will be added to the end date of each one - births will go from 1909 to 1911, marriages will go from 1924 to 1926, and deaths will go from 1934 to 1936.

The most impressive non-pay site that she has encountered is the one by the Library and Archives Canada, which has very good Irish-Canadian databases and information.

Brain Glenn told us that the LAC and the National Archives of Ireland is in the process of digitizing the census of 1901 and 1911, and they will be made free on the National Archives of Ireland website.

Lesley ended the session by talking about the Boston Pilot, a newspaper which had a section on looking for missing Irish people in the U.S. and Canada (from 1831-1921).

Ruby Cusack has mentioned her experience with this database on her website.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Irish Genealogy Night - Part II

Mike More, Chairman of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society, told us about the society, the area it covers, and its projects. He then gave a talk on what he perceives are the Eight Golden Rules of Genealogy.

1. Work Backwards

I think we all know this by now, but there are still some who try to circumvent the process and try to work from the past to the present.

People have been researching genealogy since the 1800s, and over 200 years of research has told us something - that if we want success - we have to start with ourselves.

2. Never Assume

Always check for facts. If it is down on a piece of paper that your great-grandmother was born on a certain date, you can never assume it is the right date - you must check the birth or baptismal certificates to see if it is correct.

3. Spelling of Names

Never completely trust the spelling of first and last names.

There have all been variants in the spelling, and if your ancestor spelled the surname SMITH one way and the Canadian census taker spelling it SMYTH - then you have a problem, unless you know that the names can be spelled differently.

Fortunately these days, there are programs with SOUNDEX capabilities to help you with surnames.

4. Search for Information to Confirm a Fact

Always try to find three pieces of information that confirm the fact that you have in front of you.

Everything is only speculation until it is confirmed.

5. Write Everything Down

Cite your sources!

Information closer to the date the event happened is usually more correct than information that is later recorded.

For example, birth information would be more correct close to the birth than information recorded 20 years after the birth.

6. Join a Genealogical Organization

When you join a group, it gives you a sense of belonging. You will be with people who have the same interest as yourself, and you can ask them questions about their experiences with genealogical problems.

7. Do Your Homework for a Trip

Remember to put down the five questions to be answered - why, where, when, who, and what. Once done, go to the local library, archives, or churches, for instance, to look for the answers.

8. Share Your Information

Publish your family history either on the Internet, e-books, GEDCOM, scrapbooks, or photo albums, for example. Just publish it.

And if I can add my own piece of advice - do not forget to put a copy in the local archives so that when it comes time for someone else to add to your genealogy, a copy of your work will be waiting for them.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Irish Genealogy Night

I went with my husband and a friend to the first-ever "Genealogy Night" sponsored together by the city's genealogical societies and the Irish Society of the National Capital Region. Unfortunately, our camera was not working last night, so there aren't any pictures.

We were a bit late but arrived in time to join several dozen interested people hear the last of the talk given by Kyle Browness of the Library and Archives Canada. He talked about how the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has taken the initiative by putting on the Irish Studies Symposia of 2006 and 2008 at and also by visiting The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf, which contains photos, letters, books, and music on the website at

He talked about how they have put the full symposia onsite. You can go to the website and choose over 40 or so presentations to read, to listen to, or watch them on video.

Kyle said that the music content in The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf will triple over the summer, and that the photos on have doubled since they were first put on in November, 2008.

He also noted that the response to all of these resources that the LAC has put on the Internet has been good, and they are very hopeful that this reaction will continue in the future.

He said they did this because the presenters want everyone to share in the knowledge that was extended during the two days of each of the symposiums about Irish-Canada, which covered a wide range of topics. They are important to family history researchers because they give a historical context to Ireland and to the Irish-Canadian immigration.

Tomorrow, I will cover the first of the talks given by Mike More, the Chairman of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. And the day after, I will cover the presentations given by Brian Glenn of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and Lesley Anderson of

Monday, March 9, 2009

Genealogy Night

Genealogy Night, the first of its kind, will be held at the Library and Archives Canada this coming Thursday night, 12 March, starting at 7 p.m..

It will feature talks on Irish genealogy by Mike More, who is the chairman of the Ottawa Genealogical Society; Brian Glenn, who is a member of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa; and Lesley Anderson of

It is being organized by Bill Tobin, Past-President of the Irish Society of the National Capital Region as part of the activities of the Ottawa Irish Festival, to be held from March 10th to the 17th

He said last week that there were a few dozen people already pre-registerd for the event. so it should be a good group for the evening.

Starting at 5:30, there will be two presentations given by Kyle Browness and Jean-Sebastin Potvin of the Library and Archives Canada.

The first presentation will be In Quarantine: Life and Death on Grosse Île, 1832-1937 (in French), and the second one will be the Irish-Canadian Project on social networking websites, and

These two presentations were given at the Irish Studies Symposium in November last year which I attended, and found very useful in my work. They are worth seeing if you are interested in the Irish Diaspora.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Canadian Air and Space Museum / Canada Aviation Museum

In February, the Canadian Air and Space Museum unveiled a new $2-million capital campaign which will see the first full-size model of theAvro Arrow onsite , as well as the addition of new galleries and classrooms to the museum. In addition, a home will be made for the Lancaster X Bomber.

The expansion was announced as we celebrate the Canadian Centennial of Powered Flight on the Bras D'Or Lakes in Nova Scotia, when Alexander Graham Bell oversaw the flying of the Silver Dart.

Many supporters were there to launch the "new" museum, and the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, said, "This launch celebrates the many achievements of the Canadian aerospace industry. I am pleased to be present for this new chapter in the museum's development and to see it supported so enthusiastically be the aerospace, airline and space industries, as well as the military and other proud Canadian supporters."

After visiting the Canadian Air and Space Museum, go and visit the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa, which is home to over 130 aircraft. It re-opened in November after extensive renovations.

The Canada Aviation Museum has its own library and archives onsite, which you can visit and look at the over 12,000 books they have, as well as over 200 periodicals and the many technical manuals which are there.

They also have photographs and archives from Air Canada, Canadair, and Avro Canada.

The private collections include log books from the aviators of the First and Second world Wars; correspondence from the bush pilot,Stuart Graham; and the collection of Kenneth M. Molson, the first curator of the Canada Aviation Museum.