Monday, April 11, 2011

The Archives of Ontario Would Like to Hear From You

From The Archives of Ontario -

"This is just a friendly reminder, if you have not already taken this survey, your opinions are important to us.

In our continuing effort to help you access and understand the collections and services of the Archives of Ontario with efficiency, fairness and courtesy, we have commissioned Ipsos Reid, a Market Research company to gather your feedback in a customer survey.

Before you start your survey, here are a few things you need to know:

1. Your responses are completely confidential. None of your answers will be associated with you personally.

2. Please ensure that you have thought carefully about your responses as once you start to progress through the survey you will be unable to return to previous responses and alter any answers.

3. To access the survey, please click on the link below or copy the entire URL into the address bar of your internet browser.

Start now before it's too late. It will only take 10 – 15 minutes to complete.
Questions? If you have any questions about this survey, please feel free to email Ipsos at and we will be happy to help.

As a token of our appreciation for your time, upon completion of the survey you will be entered into a draw for one of five framed reproductions from the Archives' collection. Personal information will be collected at the end of the survey to enter you in the draw.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!"

A Presentation For Irish Family Historians

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce a special evening for Irish family historians.

Noted genealogist Christ Paton, author of the new publication Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, will present a two-part lecture on the topic of "Irish Resources Online" on Thursday 16 June, commencing at 7:30 p.m.

If you would like to attend this event, please assist us with our planning and ensure the best rate by registering in advance. Send an e-mail to the Branch Education Committee at with the subject line "Irish lecture". Please note in your e-mail whether you are an OGS member and eligible for a fee reduction. Pre-registration will be accepted until 13 June. Registration at the door will be possible starting at 7:15 p.m. only if space permits.

Fees for this event may be paid in advance at a Toronto Branch meeting – otherwise, payment should be made at the door.

COST: Pre-registered OGS members $10 Pre-registered non-members $15
At the door OGS members $15 At the door non-members $20

For full speaker and program details and to check for registration updates, visit the Toronto Branch website at

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Canada in the American Civil War

Although Canada (British North America) was considered neutral in the American Civil War (1860-1865), with between 30,000 to 50,000 Canadians fighting for the Union (Northern), and the Confederates (Southern) side of the conflict.

They were signed-on by the recruiters, and according to a book by John Herd Thompson and Stephen J. Randall called Canada and the United States, Canada refused to return 15,000 American deserters, and draft dodgers.

Four of the sites which may interest you are - This site is very comprehensive. It gives the complete history of the Canadians in the American Civil War, has letters written by the soldiers back to their homes, and the history of The Underground Railway, the way taken by the slaves to come to Canada. Gives a brief history of Canadians in the American Civil War. This site is maintaied by Brian Massey, the great-grandson of William Massey who enlisted in the war Tennessee, although he was from the provience of Ontario. has updated it's holdings, and is offering a 14-day free access to the database.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A New Chinese Canadian Website

A new website has been launched which is dedicated to the oral histories of Chinese Canadian women during the exclusion period (1921-1967)*.

Launched March 31st, the website explores the impact of discriminatory immigration legislation with 33 new interviews conducted across Canada. You can see the interviews by going to

As the website says, "The MHSO started work on a two-year project, "Chinese Canadian Women 1923-1967: Inspiration-Innovation-Ingenuity". This project will bring together a variety of sources, including new oral history interviews that will be conducted across the country. It will culminate in an online portal that will make exhibitions, digital resources, learning materials and interactive activities available to the public. Online users will also be invited to contribute to this commemoration of the experiences of Chinese Canadian women".

Also online is the launch of "The Ties that Bind Online Exhibit" which was put on in Toronto, August 28, 2010.

There are more interviews with Chinese Canadians online. It tells how they made a contribution to Canadian history by helping to build the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Twelve descendants of the Chinese railroad workers are now sharing their family stories. You can see these stories on "The Ties That Bind: Building the CPR, Building a Place in Canada" online at

The project is sponsored by the Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada, in partnership with the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada under the Community Historical Recognition Program.

* For information on this period in Canadian history, you can go to to read about the Exclusion Period.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dutch Heritage Month

May is Dutch Heritage Month in Ontario.

Last month, Ontario's PC MPP, Elizabeth Witmer, introduced a private member's bill into the Ontario Legislature which would designate May as Dutch Heritage Month in Ontario.

Bill 166, Dutch Heritage Month Act, was unanimously given both second and third reading March 24th.

More than 500,000 citizens of Ontario are of Dutch extraction, and about a million people in Canada are of Dutch ancestry.

"This bill recognizes the many contributions of the Dutch community to the province of Ontario," said Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP. "As a Dutch Ontarian, I am especially proud to see the strong relationship between the Netherlands and Canada recognized by the Ontario Legislature."

May is a historically significant month. Canadian soldiers were instrumental in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. As a result, the Netherlands celebrates its liberation and independence along with the heroic actions of the Canadian forces with a national holiday on May 5, known as Liberation Day.

Ottawa has its annual Tulip Festival celebration in May. This year's theme is "Kaleidoscope – a celebration of spring awakening through colour, culture and community". You can go to to see the list of events.

For more information on the Dutch in Canada, you can go to the LAC's website, and research the "Immigration Branch", "Central Registry Files (RG 76)", the "Other Series of Records, the "Research in Other Institutions", "Research in Published Sources", and the "Research Online" pages.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tartan Day

Here is my clan's dress tartan, that being the Barclay Clan.
(yellow and black with white overcheck)

Back on October 22, 2010, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced that the Government of Canada made the official announcement that the country would recognize April 6 as Tartan Day.

"A tartan represents a clan, a family, and a community, and is an enduring symbol of Scotland that is cherished by Canadians of Scottish ancestry," said Minister Moore. "Many Canadian provinces and other countries already celebrate Tartan Day. As well, through Tartan Day, Canadians will have an opportunity to learn more about the various cultures that comprise Canadian society."

Tartan Day originated in the late 1980s in Nova Scotia, where it was declared an official day by the provincial government. It then spread across the country, with many provinces joining in. This marks the first time the Day has been recognized by the federal government.

"By officially recognizing this Day, we encourage Canadians all across the country to celebrate the contributions that over four million Canadians of Scottish heritage continue to make to the foundation of our country," said Senator John Wallace, who recently introduced a bill in the Senate in support of nationally declaring Tartan Day.

In Canada, Tartan Day is celebrated on April 6, the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence. Tartan Day celebrations typically include parades of pipe bands, Highland dancing and sports, and other Scottish-themed events.

For an online copy of the Declaration, please visit

As well, check out the Tartans of Canada website for the official and non-official tartans of Canada, the provinces, and the territories

From Scotland On Line, check out the thousands of tartans for your own clan or related septs at The site shows samples of the tartan, and offers a history of it. Truly, an awesome resource.

And for a history of the tartan, check out Wikipedia -

Here is Clan Barclay's hunting tartan
(blue and green with red overcheck

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Genealogy One-to-One Consultation

Are you looking to solve a curious family mystery? Need guidance and advice on where to go next?

Book a free 30 minute one-to-one appointment with Local History and Genealogy Librarian, Joanne McCarthy, at the Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library on Saturday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. Registration is required.

You will learn how to research and organize your family tree; discover important local and online genealogy records; and learn how to search for your ancestors using

You can reach the Library online at, follow them on Twitter and on Facebook, and you can call them at 902.490.5813.