Friday, June 10, 2011

OGS Conference 2011 – Day 2

Saturday morning started off very early with the Opening Plenary, given by Stephen Young from

In “Descendancy Research: Branching Out on Your Family Tree”, he talked about his Ontario family, and he stressed the importance of tracing your cousins to find out more information about your family.

After the AGM, I went to hear Brain Gilchrist's “Does Your Research Make Sense?”.

He took us on a journey through some of his research, always asking the question, “Does it make sense”? And he told us stories about the results of his own research that wouldn't make sense if you didn’t know the whole story.

For instance, if you look at his parent's divorce papers, it says that there weren't any children from the marriage. Since Brian was of the age of majority when the divorce was granted, there weren’t any children. However, there was issue from the marriage! So watch the words you use - the meaning can be very limited!

Jane MacNamara's, “Discovering Rural Ancestors”, was an interesting and informative look at the Women's Institute of Ontario and the Tweedsmuir Histories, which the Ontario Genealogical Society is about to scan and make available in the “Member's Only” section of their website.

Nuala Farrell-Griffin—in her give her talk, “Shhh! It’s a Locality File”—emphasizes creating a locality file as the basis of research, rather than in Ireland or in Canada, or anywhere for that matter.

In the evening, at the OGS Golden Anniversary Banquet, guest speaker, Dick Doherty, gave us “Serendipity: A Lighthearted Look at Genealogy”, and was it ever lighthearted! Dick had us laughing all night long at his stories, jokes, and pictures of funny epitaphs and the like. As if the banquet supper itself and the chatter we had with the many interesting people at our table wasn't good enough (and indeed, it was!), it was worth it just to listen to Dick.

Both Mario and I were honoured to have been joined by Lisa Alzo, who herself gave five lectures during the weekend. One thing she mentioned was how impressed she was by the quality and quantity of questions asked of her during her sessions.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

OGS Conference 2011 – Day 1

We went down to Hamilton last Wednesday, planning to do some research before the OGS Conference started on Friday, but the “car gods” had something to say about that - we never got to do any research!

The car broke down in the express lane of the 401 in the middle of Toronto (just past the Don Valley Parkway) in evening rush hour. After getting a ride in a tow truck to the Hamilton hotel where we were staying, we spent the next two days babysitting our car while it went through hours of testing to finally realize that it was simply a sticky throttle!

So Friday evening was the first time we were able to go to Conference.

After opening remarks by Nancy Trimble, President, and The Honourable Vivienne Poy, Senator (Honourable Patron of the OGS), the excited conference-goers sat earnestly listening to The Houston Memorial Lecture as given by J. Brian Gilchrist entitled, “Looking Forward by Looking Back: the changing face of genealogy and family history”, in which he gave a lighthearted review of where the OGS has been in the last 50 years, and where it is going in the next 50.

He has been involved in genealogy since he was 10 years old, so he answered some of my questions I have had about genealogy in Ontario - for instance, when was the first genealogy book written in Ontario (in the 1860s), who wrote the first guide books, who was the first president of OGS, etc.

He made extensive use of videos in his presentation, which kept it lively and interesting to the very last word. Anyone who has heard Brian speak knows that he is a very good speaker, and he ended his talk by asking us who will carry the OGS into the next 50 years.

Brian said that technology will carry the OGS in the next 50 years. He went through all the things technology does for us now - online databases, blogs, Twitter feeds, etc - but there will be a lot more before it is over. By the time he was finished his talk, we were as enthusiastic as he was - and looking forward to the future.

You will be able to read his Houston Lecture in the August edition of Families (of which I am its editor), along with the opening remarks given by Senator Poy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Voices from the Dust

This family history event is being hosted on Friday, May 20th by the Ottawa Ontario Stake Family History Centre (located at Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa).

Always informative, it's a great chance to meet some very dedicated genealogists, and to take advantage of some valuable resources.

For details on speakers, topics, and location, please go to

See you there!

116th Haviland Family Reunion

Here is your chance to connect with the Haviland Family again!

The 116th Haviland Family Reunion will be held July 9th 2011 at Waterford North Conservation Area in Waterford Ontario. Here is your chance to connect with your family again

Saturday's events will start at 1:00 a.m. with registration, followed by a 12:00 noon pot luck buffet meal at the Pavilion. There will be afternoon activities for all ages: baseball, volleyball, genealogy sharing, renewing of acquaintances, viewing group photographs and the "Canadian Haviland Family Genealogy" books, and face painting.

Captain John Haviland, a United Empire Loyalist, having served the British as an artificer in the American Revolut, moved from Haviland's Hollow on the NY/CT state line and settled in 1803 at Townsend Township, Norfolk County, near Brantford. Descendants have held a reunion annually since 1896.

For information contact:
David Haviland
PO Box 269
Otterville, ON N0J 1R0


Email him at

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Langstaff Family History

It so happens that Jack Langstaff read the paper, "Buggery and Slander: The Trials and Tribulations of Moses Winter" by Guylaine Pétrin in the May edition of the Ontario Genealogical Society's journal, Families, and found out that he was related to one of the signees of the petition.

He has researched most of the early Langstaff's who came to Ontario, and if you would like to check them out, please go to his website at

In addition, Jack says that "As well, there may be Germans from Kreis Kolmar and Wirsitz who can find parts of the family in the extensive birth file".

If you go to the site, you will see genealogies for families such as KRIENKE, LONGHURST, and NEELY.

He can be contacted at

Monday, May 16, 2011

NIGS and OGS Partnership

At the closing ceremonies of the Ontario Genealogical Society, President Nancy Trimble—in conjunction with Louise St. Denis, Managing Director of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies—made a major announcement regarding a partnership between the two entities.

The Institute will provide Live Meeting services to the Branches, in addition to other membership benefits.

More details to follow ...

Book Reviews

The May 2011 edition of the Ontario Genealogical Society's journal, Families, has been published, and the issue contains five book reviews (on pages 32 to 34) -

Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Research Guide by Janice Nickerson (ISBN 978-1-5548877-05). As the review says, the records at the Library and Archives Canada and the Archives of Ontario "were waiting for someone to come along to and put them in readable order", and that person is Janice Nickerson.

If you have anyone involved in the justice system in Upper Canada form 1701-1841 (on either side of the law), you owe it to yourself to read a review of the book, and to get a copy of it.

Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War by Thomas B. Allen (ISBN 9780061241802). An excellent review of the book is given by Brenda Dougall Merriman. She aptly describes the author's intent to show how the Tories fought for America's right to stay British - and lost in the War of Independence.

British Home Children: Their Stories. Compiled by the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (ISBN 978-1-926797-47-2). A compilation of personal essays in which 36 children tell their life stories of how they came to Canada, and the life they lived here between 1869 and 1948.

Journey To The Past - The Lost Villages of Mississauga by Heritage Mississauga Foundation (ISBN 978-0-9867579-0-8) tells the story of Mississauga through its Lost Villages of the Heartland, and across the Northern, Eastern, and Western Frontiers.

Tracing Your Irish Roots is published by Moorshead Magazine (ISBN 978-0-9781592-6-9). A great collection of fifteen articles printed by the publisher since 2005, each article is reviewed in the book review.

Families is considered as a part of the member's benefit of membership in the OGS. You can join the OGS by going to their webpage Or, if you are in Hamilton, do drop by and see us in the Marketplace at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Friday through Sunday (May 13th-15th).