Friday, June 24, 2011

Ontario First Parliament Buildings and War of 1812 Centre

There has been a press release concerning a new interpretive centre commemorating the site of Ontario's first parliament buildings and the War of 1812.

"This commemorative centre will provide a unique opportunity for citizens and visitors to learn about and mark significant events from our collective past - a fitting and timely initiative as we prepare for next year's celebration of both the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, events that will highlight and reinforce the Crown's important role in our parliamentary democracy," said the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The commemorative centre will open in February 2012 at 265 Front Street East in Toronto, on a property acquired by the province and transferred to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 2005. It and three adjoining properties comprise the site of Ontario's first purpose-built parliament buildings. Opened in 1797, the buildings were burned by invading American forces during the War of 1812. They were later rebuilt, but were destroyed by fire again in 1824.

"This new commemorative centre will not only shed light on the history of this site, it will also put that history in a provincial and national context," said the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation and MPP Toronto Centre.

"Next year's bicentennial is an ideal time to draw attention to the importance of Ontario's first parliament buildings, which were destroyed in battle during the War of 1812," said Dr. Symons. "We are delighted that the new commemorative centre will showcase this history, exploring the evolution of our democracy and the significance of the war, both of which have played major roles in shaping the province and the country we know today."

"Many citizens of Old Town Toronto and local organizations have been eager to see this site commemorated and interpreted, particularly as the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 approaches," said Rollo Myers, who has been actively involved for many years with the protection of the site of Ontario's first parliament buildings. "I'm delighted that the Trust's centre will celebrate the bicentennial and showcase the critical early years of Upper Canada, as many of Ontario's most important institutions - social, political and religious - trace their beginnings to this site."

LAC Marks the Opening of the New Nitrate Film Preservation Centre

Genealogists took note that on June 21st, the Library and Archives of Canada marked the official opening of the new Nitrate Film Preservation Centre in the west end of Ottawa.

In a press release it said that “A portion of Library and Archives Canada's film and photographic negative collection is nitrate-based, a medium that can catch fire under certain conditions. This collection captures some of Canada's most significant moments up until the 1950s when the medium became obsolete. The material was in danger because it was housed in facilities that did not provide the stable, cold and dry environment essential for preservation. Until recently, the collections were stored in an outdated facility, originally built in 1947 on the former Rockcliffe Air Base in Ottawa.

The Nitrate Film Preservation Centre is an eco-designed building with various sustainable features that include a "green" roof, well- insulated walls to reduce energy consumption, high-efficiency mechanical systems to reclaim energy, and technology to reduce water use.

The nitrate-based collection consists of 5,575 reels of film, dating from as early as 1912, and close to 600,000 photographic negatives. Among the materials preserved at the new facility is one of Canada's first feature films, Back to God's Country, along with works produced by the National Film Board and photographic negatives from the collections of Yousuf Karsh”.

New images on Flickr: Nitrate Film Preservation Centre

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BIFHSGO Conference 2011 Update

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) is one of the most successful genealogical societies in Canada. They have well over 500 members, and are leaders in the study of Anglo-Celtic roots in Canada.

This year from Sept. 16 to the 18th will see the 17th Annual Conference at the Library and Archives Canada on Wellington Street in Ottawa, and it will have as it's theme "England & Wales: London & the Home Countries".

On Friday, there will be the pre-conference Seminar which will feature "I can't find them anywhere!: Effective searching, sharing, and collaborating with Ancestry" with Leslie Anderson; "Storing and Preserving Family Archives and Artifacts: Arresting the deterioration of your family treasure" by Kyla Ubbink; and "Introduction to English and Welsh Family History Research: Using civil registration, census, parish register and probate records" by Linda Reid.

There are eight lectures to choose from on Saturday and Sunday, and they range from "Tracing Your English Ancestors in The National Archives", "The Fleet Registers: Clandestine Marriages in London 1667-1754", "The London Gazette: Not Just the Brave and the Bankrupt", and "Resting Peacefully in Essex - Where I Became a Better Genealogist".

Why don't you come, and join us for a really good weekend? You can find out information about your ancestor, and at $70.00 for the full conference (member's rate), or for $50.00 a day (member's rate), or at $20.00 for a single session, how could you go wrong? And don't forget, there is also a Marketplace on all three days.

This year they have a blog which they keep you up-to-date on the latest speakers, where to stay in Ottawa while at the conference, and the Marketplace is reporting a 15% jump in registration!

You can register before Aug 12th by going to the BIFHSGO website at

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scottish Nick Names in Canada

There has been an interesting notice sent in by Dianne Bergstadt to Chris Paton on his blog, Scottish GENES about Scottish Nick Names that were used by people living in Glengarry County, Ontario.

As Chris points out on the blog, there are very few “Scottish” Nick Names in the list, but it is worth reading to see if your ancestor is included in the list.

Some samples of Nick Names are -

Donald MacDonald = Big Donald The Blacksmith

Sandy MacDonald = Sandy Schoolmaster

John McPhee = Old Man of Cold

John MacDonald = Johnny Alex the Cook

Alex McDonald = Alex the Grocer

The website which has the list is

Many thanks to Dianne for sending a notice of the list to Chris, and my thanks to Chris for putting it on his blog this afternoon.

Ottawa Genealogical Society Blog

The Ottawa Genealogy Society has a new blog at

Published since June 10th, I learned about it last evening while attending the AGM of Ottawa Genealogy Society at Library and Archives Canada.

I went to their site this morning, and found out that Mike More (the former chair of the Ottawa Genealogy Society, and the Region VIII Director), Edward Kipp (the editor of the Ottawa Genealogist, the Branch’s newsletter), Jim Stanzell (the Publications Officer), and Tom White (the Program Officer) all contribute to the blog on a regular basis.

For instant, while talking to Jim last night, I learned that he is putting on information on the War of 1812. Right now, he has the first of many postings on War of 1812, and this one will interest those who have ancestors in the 100th Regiment of Foot who settled in the Goulbourn Township, Carleton County near Ottawa.

I wish everybody concerned success in this blog. It is always good to see new genealogy blogs come on the scene with important information.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011 Emancipation Day Bus Tour – “The Freedom Trial Celebration”

The Ontario Black History Society is pleased to invite you to join them on the following bus tour -

Date: Saturday, July 23rd

Departure Location: Yorkdale Mall by the Cineplex Entrance

Departure Time: 8:00AM

Return Time: 9:00PM

Cost: $ 65.00- Members, $75.00- Non-Members ($40 Deposit required upon reservation)
RSVP by June 22nd, 2011 to 416)-867-9420 or E-mail:

Sites to be visited include

St. Catharines Museum at the Welland Canals Centre
The St. Catharines Museum's award-winning exhibit, Follow the North Star, explores the black experience along the Underground Railroad and recounts the rich legacy of Niagara's African Canadians.

Anthony Burns Gravesite
The provincial historic plaque at this site honours the memory of Reverend Anthony Burns, the last person tried under the Fugitive Slave Act in Massachusetts. A verdict, which returned him to slavery, incited street riots. Boston abolition­ists bought his freedom and educated him before he settled in St. Catharines and successfully ministered at Zion Baptist Church.

St. Catharines British Methodist Episcopal Church (Salem Chapel)
Its proximity to the border, access to rail lines, and employment opportunities, established St. Catharines as a large refugee centre. In 1855 their first small log church was replaced with this larger, more finished building. Its open hall plan includes a three-sided balcony, providing seating capacity for the large number of people who regularly attended, often including the famous Harriet Tubman and the newly arrived refugees whom she had led to freedom.

R. Nathaniel Dett British Methodist Episcopal Church
Constructed in 1836, this building was originally in the area of present-day Niagara Falls, then known as Fallsview. The church was designated a national historic site in 2001. The Chapel continues to be the spiritual and cultural center of the black community. It was named in honour of native-born, world-renowned musician and composer of sacred music, Robert Nathaniel Dett, who, from 1898 to 1903, was the church organist".

The Black History Society
10 Adelaide Street East Suite 402
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1J3
Telephone:  (416) 867-9420 Fax: (416) 867-8691
Website: www.blackhistorysociety

World Acadian Congress Family Reunions

Organizers of the L'Acadie du Monde (International World Acadian Congress, to be held in August 2014) are looking for people who can organize family reunions. They hope to bring Acadian families from all over the world to celebrate the cultural traditions by attending the Congress in August.

The theme for the 2014 Congress is "Lands and Forests", which will be held in Maine's St. John Valley, in southeast Quebec, and in northwest New Brunswick.

They are hoping for 100 family reunions, and for over 50,000 people to attend the two-week-long Congress.

Acadians are the descendants of colonial French families who were exiled from their homes in 1755 by the British government in what was called Le Grand Derangement, or The Great Displacement.

Applications for families interested in hosting a family reunion are available online at the website for the fifth World Acadian Congress at