Friday, December 31, 2010

Blogs I Followed in 2010

Here are some of the blogs I follow on a daily basis, in no particular order. I thought that you would enjoy them, also -

Anglo-Celtic Connections

This is the blog of John D. Reid, and he posts on a regular basis. This may be of interest to those searching their Anglo-Celtic as well as Canadian ancestors.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society

This blog is from the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, and they talk about Canadian and Anglo-Celtic sources.

Alberta Family Histories Society Blog

This is the blog of the Alberta Family History Society. They post about genealogy happenings in Canada.

CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt'

This is M. Diane Rogers' blog. In addition to her own family, she blogs about news in British Columbia, and of her own experiences as a graveyard rabbit.

Olive Tree Genealogy Blog

This blog by Lorine McGinnis Schulze has a plethora of primary resources transcribed online. This is especially true of passenger lists that no one else seems to have.

Janet the Researcher

Janet Iles has a very interesting blog, and always writes about ancestors from a researcher's point of view.

Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogists Climb Family Trees

This is a blog by Elise C. Cole, and she write about genealogy from the librarian's point of view.

Brenda Dougall Merriman

A blog written by a fellow member of APG, she often writes about my home province (Nova Scotia) in her postings.

Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) Blog

The official blog of the Canada's largest genealogical society, they post all the news about the OGS.

Finally, please allow me to wish you and yours a Happy New Year, and the best for 2011!

Thank you for following MY blog (Genealogy Canada). I hope you've enjoyed it!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Anglo-Celtic Roots - Winter 2010

"The cover image combines the Coat-of-arms for the Blakes of Wiltshire/Hampshire/Somerset, England, (courtesy Elizabeth Kipp) with an image of a DNA helix (Wikipedia: National Human Genome Research Institute)"

I wasn't able to go to the December 11th meeting because of work commitments, but my dear husband dropped in for a minute and picked up the latest copy of Anglo-Celtic Roots, the award-winning quarterly publication of BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa).

In this issue are three articles, a review of their annual Fall Conference held in September, news on the Home Children Book Project by Brian Glenn, the passing of long-time BIFHSGO member (and former president) and ACR columnist ("The Printed Page") Gordon Taylor, and a report of the writer's workshop by Carol Annett, which was also held during the Conference.

As well is "The Bookworm" by Betty Warburton, listing new holdings (with some interesting titles) for the Brian O'Regan Memorial Library, the "Members' Surname Search" by Elizabeth Kipp, a membership report by Tara Grant, a message from the president, Glenn Wright, and a note from the editor.

The first article by Elizabeth Kipp, Barrie Blake, and Bill Bleak — "Revealing the Blake Family - a yDNA Project" — looks into how the surname of Blake originated. It follows through the yDNA process, and outlines the ongoing research.

If you have questions about the Blake surname, Elizabeth can be reached at

The second article, by Anglo-Celtic Connections blogger, John D. Reid — "Local Roots of Governor General David Johnston" — tries to trace the ancestry of David Johnston, Canada's newest Governor General.

Although the Library and Archives Canada does not have some of the newspapers which could have BMDs in them, he does find the newspaper at the local library, and starts to trace back the family.

If you are researching relatives in the 20th century, this is an excellent article (with detailed endnotes) to read.

The third article is a "Great Moments" article by Chris MacPhail (the editor of ACR) who writes about his great-aunt Lillian and the surprises he found in "The Importance of Being Ernest".

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Membership Month at OGS

Do you know that the OGS has a blog, and that it is open to the public?

An example of a posting is listed below -

December 8th, 2010

It's Membership Month here at the Ontario Genealogical Society. If you're a current member, you have received, or will soon receive, your OGS membership renewal form with your November issue of Families. If you're not a current member, now is the best time to join us to ensure you get a full year's worth of OGS membership benefits.

So, why join OGS?

OGS Members receive our journal, Families, and our print newsletter, NewsLeaf, and the electronic version sent by email, e-NewsLeaf.

Families is a quarterly publication that includes researched, referenced, and illustrated articles; the Game, a queries column that members may contribute to; and a book review section on books of interest to genealogists.

NewsLeaf is our newsletter which is published quarterly, as well. It includes OGS news and happenings; a section announcing forthcoming gatherings and special events; and current news from the 30 OGS Branches and SIGs.

The e-NewsLeaf has links to other websites of interest to members, as well as timely news items and announcements.

Join us to receive these publications.

To become a member, click on to the Membership page.

Since I am the editor of both publications, I can say—modestly—that they are top-notch in passing along the latest news to, and about, the OGS and its members.

In the February issue of both NewsLeaf and Families will be articles on how to discover Jamaican and Trinidadian roots from Canada, an article on the Library and Archives Canada, and one on an Irish family from the Ottawa Valley in Ontario.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Canadian Families Database

Family events such as baptisms, marriages, and burials are key elements of genealogy and family history research.

From early times to the present, these events have been recorded in church records. Library and Archives Canada holds a small collection of church records, some of which are indexed by name.

To provide better access to those indexes, the information they contain has been entered in a database that will expand slowly over the next few years.

The records are in the Canadian Families database

Although I am pretty certain that I do not have any direct descendants in Ontario on either side of my family (BARCLAY, BLADES), I just put the names in on the off-chance that there may have been something there.

And while no one directly related was discovered, at least I found out how it works.

However, the Barclay name yielded one entry on the database in Leeds County. There was nothing for Blades.

Name: Barclay family
Parish: Leeds County, Ontario
Fonds: Miller, W.J. (Bill) Collection
Volume: 2
Page: 67 - 68
Microfilm: H-1668
Reference: MG 25 G370

It should be noted that, at present, the Canadian Families database covers the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Williamstown, Ontario; the Miller, W.J. (Bill) Collection; and the Kipling Collection: Card Index. Future databases will be added.

LAC has another database called That's My Family at

It contains the Marriage Records Index for Canada, of which there are more than 3 million records for the Quebec population between 1621 and 2004.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas to you and yours, our loyal readers!

Thank you for dropping by. We hope you take the time to explore all we have to offer. Use our search engine to go through over 200 blog postings to date.

Start now, and you might just be finished in time to read our new posting on Boxing Day!

All the best,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LAC Launches 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to make the 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) available online at

In order to track the high rates of population growth in Western Canada during the early years of the 20th Century, the Canadian government called for a special census of the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta). The first census was conducted in 1906, followed by another in 1916.

Access to the digitized images of the 1916 census is available online in two different ways:

* Through a database that is searchable by Province, District Name, District Number, and Sub-district Number. The database is available at:

Please note that this is NOT a nominally-indexed database - it is not searchable by family name.

* Through the research tool "microform digitization," you can browse the microfilm reels page by page. The tool is available at:

One webpage which the LAC staff has published is "Column Headings and Interpretation", which gives an explanation of each of the fields of the census plus "Common Abbreviations".

On a personal note, I do have Webster ancestors (by marriage) who went out to Manitoba in 1904, and I can trace them up to the present day, due to the census and material that is at the LAC.

So while you are at the LAC website, be sure to put your ancestor's name in the search engine, and the results will be shown in the Archives, the Library, the Ancestor Database, and on the Websites at the LAC.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bill C-568 - Gordon Watts Latest Census Report

As genealogists know, Canada has had a long battle with the government over the country's census - it's collection and release.

The latest battle has been over the dropping of the long term census, but Gordon A. Watts, in his latest newsletter issue, reports that it is coming to an end.

To see his report, go to

Bill C-568 has been in the Senate, and Watts says "Debate on Second Reading of Bill C-568, that would restore the mandatory long-form Census and would remove imprisonment as a punishment for failure to complete the Census, took place on 5 November and 3 December 2010. The vote on a motion to pass second reading and to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology took place on 8 December 2010. The motion was passed on a division of 147 to 136.

Following consideration by the Committee, the Bill will be reported back to the House of Commons, with or without recommendation. It may then be debated in Third Reading, and if passed there, would be referred to the Senate for consideration.

While this Bill may very well receive Third Reading in the House of Commons, I think it unlikely that it will pass through the Senate. There are currently 152 sitting Conservative members of the Senate. If all of these Senators voted against the Bill, and all non-Conservative Senators (151 in total) voted in favour of it, it would fail by one vote.

Bill C-583, dealing with the method of appointment of the Chief Statistician and some of the responsibilities of that position, received First Reading in the House of Commons on 30 September 2010. As of this writing, it has not yet been placed in the order of precedence, and so debate on Second Reading has not yet begun."

And Wells tells us that there is to be a second court action being taken on long-form Census.

He says that "Media reports indicate that a coalition of aboriginal organizations and chiefs from Atlantic Canada were in Halifax Federal Court Monday 13 December to argue that the removal of the mandatory long-form Census questionnaire violates their Charter rights. Lawyers for the Native Council of Nova Scotia, the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council, the Native Council of Prince Edward Island, the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, and three Atlantic chiefs claim that the changes to questions about ethnicity and ancestry will make it difficult for the government to discharge its constitutional duties to aboriginal peoples.

This is the second group to take the government to court over the government's decision to do away with the mandatory long-form Census. The first was a Francophone organization in Quebec that argued the long-form Census was the only reliable source of information about minority French-speaking communities. A Federal Court judge ruled against that argument.

The federal government has stated that they will be introducing legislation to remove the imprisonment penalties for failing to complete the Census from the Statistics Act, but to date I have seen no indications of any such legislation being presented to the House of Commons."

So, there is the latest news on the census.

Hopefully, some comprise can be found which would satisfy everyone, but I think that time has passed, and we will get whatever the government decides.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Digitizes Records from the Lest We Forget Workshops

Today, released a press release saying that they have taken the records from the Lest We Forget Workshops of the Library and Archives website, and have put them online.

This program was run through the Library and Archives for a number of years through their Education Centre, but it was closed this year (March 30, 2010), because of lack of funds.

In part, the press release says, "The collections, Selected Service Records of Soldiers, 1914-1918 and Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939-1945, are fully-searchable by the soldier's name, birth and death date, and keyword, and provide unprecedented information about soldiers' lives during their time serving in the military."

Individual soldiers' records in the collections contain up to three dozen forms detailing their enlistment, training, medical and dental history, hospitalization, discipline, pay, and discharge or notification of death, painting a rich picture of their lives and often tragic experiences.

Selected Service Records of Soldiers, 1914-1918 contains a sampling of approximately 100 individuals who served in the First World War. Amongst these documents is personal correspondence from the few surviving complete service files which have been recently released by LAC.

Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939-1945 includes the enlistment records, medical and dental charts, evaluation reports, medal and promotion entitlements, letters (personal, military and recommendations), wills, and inventory of personal effects of approximately 100 soldiers from the Second World War Service Files.

These new records add to what is already the largest online collection of Canadian military records found anywhere in the world, one that includes the Soldiers of the First World War, a collection of attestation papers for nearly 600,000 Canadian soldiers who fought in the 'War to End All Wars'. genealogist Lesley Anderson comments: "There are so many Canadians with ancestors who fought in the two world wars - many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice - and so it is important that new generations continue to learn about their stories through workshops such as Lest We Forget".

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ontario Chapter, APG Presents Elizabeth Shown Mills

On Saturday April 2nd, 2011, I will be in Toronto to see one of the eminent genealogists of our time - Elizabeth Shown Mills!

The Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Canadiana Department, North York Central Library (Toronto Public Library) are pleased to present this opportunity to hear one of the foremost genealogical educators of our day. We promise a full day of stimulation for your personal or professional genealogical pursuits.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FAGS, FNGS, FUGA, has been a leader in genealogical education for a quarter of a century, pushing the cutting edge of research methodology, standards, and quality, serving as president of both the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the American Society of Genealogists, as well as an officer or trustee of other major organizations. During her 16 years as editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Elizabeth made the journal into the leading forum for the teaching of research methods and principles. For even longer, her Advanced Methodology Track at the Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research has been a rite of passage for serious family historians.

Among Elizabeth's countless publications are the award-winning Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian and Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians. They are considered "absolute essentials" for both personal and professional genealogists. Her latest book, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, earned Library Journal's Best Reference 2007 designation. She has also created a number of convenient QuickSheets as research aids.

The schedule has been posted at

Saturday, April 2, 2011
Advanced Genealogical Skills: A Seminar with Elizabeth Shown Mills

8:30 Doors open
9:00 Welcome
9:15 Genealogical Problem Solving: Professional Techniques for Everyday Success
11:00 Sources & Citations Simplified: From Memorabilia to Digital Data to DNA
12:15 Lunch break
1:30 Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours!
3:15 Dissecting Your Research Problem and Planning a Solution
4:30 Concluding Question & Answer Session

Auditorium, North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Refreshments will be available; lunch is not included.

Lunch: Brown bag it, North York Centre food court, or restaurants on Yonge Street.

For accommodation, Novotel North York is part of the North York Centre (416-733-2929,

Books of interest will be available for purchase on the day of the event. See the registration site for titles and pre-ordering, when registration begins. Our speaker will be available during the afternoon break for book signing.

Cost: $45 public admission; $20 OCAPG members.
Space is limited.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Launch of LAC "Medals, Honours and Awards" Database

Victory Medal, First World War, Courtesy: LACVictory Medal, First World War
Courtesy: LAC

Ottawa, December 9, 2010 — Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online database, "Medals, Honours and Awards".

Through this online database, researchers can access more than 113,000 references to medal registers, citation cards, and records of various military awards. In addition to archival references, this research tool includes digitized images of some medal registers.

The database is available at:

I checked the database and found a Barclay Webster, s/o Henry Bentley Webster and Ina Mary Barclay (my gggg aunt) who joined the 2nd Canadian Queen's Regiment.

I did not know that he was in the militia, and that he had received the Canada General Service Medal as noted below -

Name: WEBSTER, Barclay
Rank: Private
Regiment: 2nd Queen's Regiment Nova Scotia Militia
Medal/Honour/Award: Canada General Service Medal
Event/Time Period: Fenian Raid (1866)
Volume: 8
Page: 113
Reference / Acession Number: RG 9 IIA5
Microfilm: C-1862

There is a very brief account of him and his life on Wikipedia, as follows -

Barclay Webster - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Barclay Webster (September 16, 1849 – ) was a lawyer, judge and political figure in Nova Scotia, Canada. He represented King's County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1890 to 1894 as a Liberal-Conservative member.

He was born in Kentville, Nova Scotia, the son of Henry Bentley Webster, a lawyer, and Mary Ina Barclay. Webster was educated at Acadia College, Dalhousie University and Harvard University. He was called to the Nova Scotia bar in 1872 and set up practice in Kentville. He married Ethel, the daughter of Leverett de Veber Chipman, in 1877. In 1890, Webster was named King's Counsel.

His son, L. Beverley Webster, died in London after fighting in the Boer War.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Issue of OGS Families - Cont'd

To continue the overview that I started the other day of the papers in the Ontario Genealogical Society's journal, Families, there are four more papers in the November issue, and they are -

"Where Are The Records?" is an ongoing column by Gwen Patterson in which she takes often overlooked resources at the archives or library and sets them in context so that Ontario researchers can use them.

In this issue, she has a piece on "The Papers of Andrew F. Hunter (1863-1940), Simcoe County Historian" and there are newspaper clippings from The Family Herald and Weekly Star. These clippings concern Lost Persons and Deaths from 1936 to 1938.

"Unfolding Old Documents", by Dr. Fraser Dunford, the Executive Director of the Ontario Genealogical Society, goes through the work involved in taking old papers to ready them for scanning. There are photos, and the step-by-step process is described for those people who are faced with the same problem.

'The Edgars in Glengarry Country and Abroad", by James Somerville Edgar, tells the story of the searching for Charles Edgar of Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland.

"Documenting Ontario War Dead, 1918-1950", by military archivist Glenn Wright. Since November is Remembrance Month in Canada, Glenn has written a new book called Canadians at War 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War One Service Records, which details the records in Canada.

This paper goes through the Circumstances of Death Registers (which are not online) in the Library and Archives Canada, and he tells us, in detail, how to use these records.

In the February issue, the lead article will be "How to Research Your Jamaican Ancestry from Canada", by Dorothy Kew, in honor of Heritage Day in Ontario.

It's one in a variety of other similar excellent articles written by enlightened and exciting authors.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Issue of OGS Families

As the new editor of the Ontario Genealogical Society's journal, Families, I have had the pleasure of my first issue being recently released.

In this November 2010 issue, I covered the fact that 2010 was declared as the Year of the Home Child, and I published the following articles -

"Young Immigrants to Canada: The Children's Friend Society" by Marjorie Kohli. This article gives a history of The Children's Friend Society, and lists two pages of names of children who came to Canada from Britain in the middle 18th-Century. A typical entry reads, "Smith, Jesse on Active, house servant to Rev. Thomas B. Fuller of Toronto".

"The British Child Emigration Scheme to Canada (1870-1957)" by Perry Snow. Read about the legacy left by his father, Fred G. Snow, as he made his way to Canada as a Home Child. This article appears as a reprint courtesy of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society.

'The Diary of Reverend William Bowman Tucker, 1859-1934" is an except from a diary of a Home Child, one who later went on to found the Montreal City Mission. Glenn Adams, his grandson, gave me his kind permission to reprint a small portion of the diary.

"Discovering the Story of Father" by John Fielding is a heart-warming story of a boy, Leslie Fielding, and how he made a life for himself after he came to Canada.

In the next posting, I will continue with Part II, telling you about more articles in this issue of Families, plus a special article in the OGS NewsLeaf.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

OGS Provincial Office Reopens

From OGS Headquarters comes this news -

October 23, 2010

Provincial Office Reopens

The OGS Provincial Office is open for business once again. Our server, phones and fax machines are up and running and we have returned to our regular hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 5:00 pm.

The incident that caused us to be closed happened around 12:00 on Friday October 8th. A worker renovating the library above the office drilled through the concrete floor and into a water pipe in the ceiling of our office. Water poured into our office and knocked out the power to our server and printer, also dumping water on parts of the machines. Sarah Newitt and Marsha Brown were the staff in the office that day and they worked quickly to remove as many objects as possible from the path of the flood that rapidly covered the office with an inch of water. Beyond some pamphlets and in stock OGS publications nothing was damaged that could not be repaired.

The building itself sustained the most damage and required that we empty and close the office so the bottom few feet of most of the drywall could be replaced as well as part of the ceiling. These repairs and the ensuing air quality check took longer than anticipated but are finally complete. Technicians have checked and reconnected all of our electronic equipment and found they were not damaged. The contractor's insurance will pay for the expenses incurred as a result of this.

If you have recently sent us an email that bounced back to you, please try again. The server was unable to receive messages during our closed period and we would like to make sure we do get your email.

Thank you once again for your patience and support during this period. We are happy to be returning to normal and look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the office.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Visit our website,, for some great stuff on Canadian genealogy, history, and heritage.

We have an article on Canadian Thanksgiving -

1. (with dancing turkey)

And we have two articles on Thanksgiving on our blog -

1. Canadian Thanksgiving - (with football-playing turkey)

2. American Thanksgiving -

Enjoy the posts, and to all our readers, "Happy Thanksgiving!", no matter which one you celebrate!


Friends of Laura Secord

(Click on image to make it bigger)

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. "

Sunday, August 29, 2010

QFHS Office Closure

A recent notice from the QFHS -

Dear QFHS Members,
The Office and Heritage Centre of the Quebec Family History Society will be closed from Thursday, August 26, 2010 and will reopen Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
Jackie Billingham

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm Back!

Hello, Dear Readers!

I'm back from my sojourn, and what a trip it was!

But that's for later - I still have to write it.

For now, I have a press release from my good friend, Gwyneth Pearce of the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, about an upcoming workshop on Scottish family history in June next year.

One thing to note is that Scottish genealogy expert, Dr. Chris Paton, will be coming to speak. The organizers are also looking for other presenters, so if Scotland is an area of interest of yours, you may wish to answer their call.

On a personal note, it's good to be back. I look forward to bringing you more news from the Canadian genealogy front.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.



Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library have joined together to sponsor "The Women in our Past: Strategies and Resources for Researching Female Ancestors", an all-day workshop to explore new and varied approaches to researching those often elusive women in our families. With expert speakers from across Ontario, this event will offer participants a deeper understanding of the circumstances that governed and shaped the lives of our female ancestors – from family relationships, domestic service and the justice system to the fur trade, migration and world war. Find out how and where to search for relevant records and learn about the latest developments in maternal-line DNA analysis. The workshop will be held in the Auditorium of the North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, at the North York Centre subway station. Early registration rates are available until 30 September 2010. For program and registration details, visit To check availability, call 416-733-2608 (voice mail) or e-mail

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library will be co-hosting a one-day workshop on Scottish Family History. The principal speaker will be Chris Paton from Scotland who will give presentations on the Scottish church, Scottish land records/house history and the use of guild records (specifically the handloom weaving industry in Perth). A call has been issued for other speakers who would like to be part of this workshop. Proposals are invited for both full-length presentations on topics related to Scottish genealogy and shorter case study presentations. The submission deadline is 1 November 2010. For further information about the workshop program and the call for speakers, visit

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dear Readers

As you have seen from my infrequent postings to this blog as of late, I have been busy doing other "genealogical" things, and I really haven't had the time to post on a regular basis.

Plus, I have just taken on another job.

John Becker, the editor of Families (the journal of the OGS) has taken ill, and is unable to complete the August issue. So I have taken over the editorship of the August issue as Guest Editor.

Those of you who have been involved with publications know that it is very intensive work, and since I am also the editor of NewsLeaf (the newsletter of the OGS), I don't imagine I will see too much of the summer from now until the middle of July, when the two publications go to the printer.

So if you will bear with me while I work on these three OGS publications (yes, I also edit e-NewsLeaf, the e-mail newsletter), I will be posting a bit less during the next few weeks.

Of course, you can always read me in NewsLeaf, e-NewsLeaf, or Families by simply joining the Ontario Genealogical Society at NewsLeaf and Families are issued four times a year (Feb, May, Aug, Nov), while e-NewsLeaf is issued eight times a year (Jan, Mar, Apr, June, Jul, Sept, Oct, Dec).

But I have more good news for my readers - if you were not aware, there are over 200 previously posted blogs in the archives to keep you company in this dry time - see the section marked "Blog Archive" at the right side of the page. You can search by date, or if a more direct approach is desired, use the custom search box for the site, powered by Google.

In any event, I look forward to getting back to the blog, and in the meantime, I wish to say -

"Thank you for your patience, and continued support!"



Sunday, May 2, 2010

Glenn Wright Interview

As some of you may have noticed, I have conducted an in-depth interview with a Canadian genealogist in the June 2010 issue of Family Chronicle that just came out the other day.

The person I interviewed was Ottawa's own Glenn Wright, who is retired from Library and Archives Canada (LAC), and has now taken up genealogy as his second career. He is the first of what I hope will be a regular feature for Moorshead Magazines (either Family Chronicle or Internet Genealogy). I interviewed him in October at the LAC just before a BIFHSGO meeting and found him to be an interesting fellow, full of genealogy tidbits - which he shares with everyone in the interview.

He is the first genealogist I have interviewed in this exciting and innovative new feature, and there will be others coming out in the near future. Notable genealogists I have interviewed include Boston's David Allen Lambert of NEHGS (the Online Genealogist), and Shelburne, Nova Scotia genealogist Eleanor Robertson Smith of the Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society, both of whom will appear in future issues.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

FamilySearch Adds 300M Records

Over the past week, I've been keeping an eye out for what's been happening in Salt Lake City at the NGS Conference, and I have been reading Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blogs, as well as Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers, the Mormon Times newspaper, and of course, the NGS blog.

A few Canadians (that I know of) have been down to the conference including Alison Hare (she gave two lectures there, and will appear at the upcoming OGS Conference 2010), Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree from Moorshead Magazines, and Louise St. Denis from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies.

As well, Chris McPhail from the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) was there to pick up first prize in the Anglo-Saxon Connection newsletter category, for their newsletter, Anglo-Celtic Roots. Congratulations to BIFHSGO, and to Chris, as editor!

If I missed any fellow Canadians there, please send me an email, and I will mention you here.

One thing which we can check on at home is the new beta version of the FamilySearch website,

FamilySearch president, Jay Verkler, says that this is the result of the Worldwide Indexing Project, and that they will add about 300-million more names to it.

He said "the flow of names to the Web will continue as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seeks to index all of the approximately 3.5-billion names stored on microfilm in the Granite Mountain Records Vault. It will take about 10 years to index all the records, a task previously projected to take more than a century to complete."

I spent this afternoon putting in the names of my genealogy, and although nothing was added to my search, there are million of names left to go, so the BARCLAYs, HALEYs, WEBSTERs, MORTONs and so on will show up somewhere in time, I am sure.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hamilton Branch Newsletter

The Winter 2010 edition of the Hamilton Branch (OGS) newsletter contains various notes and articles, and one of the best articles is by Brian Pearson called, "What are the ODDS".

It seems as if Brian was born in Northern England in the middle 1940s, and in 1987, when he went back to visit his stepmother, she gave him some stuff that his father had owned. In amongst the papers he found his father's birth certificate.

Guess what? His father and his wife had been born in the same house - 60 years apart!

In addition to this story, there are book reviews, items that have been added to their library, queries, and an article on the National Burial Index for England and Wales, 1538-2003.

You can visit the Hamilton Branch online at or send them an email at hbogsadmin@mountaincable.ogs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Discovering Family History Closed

Ed Zapletal, the publisher of Moorshead Magazines, has announced today that his newest magazine, Discovering Family History, is closing with the March/April 2010 release.

It had been in production over two years, but as he has put it in his news release, "Although DFH was selling very well on the newsstands, with the stores taking an increasing number of copies each issue, we weren't simply able to get the new subscribers numbers to increase at a fast enough rate".

It is always sad to see a publication end its run, but as Ed says, the numbers to keep it in existence were just not there.

However, Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy are going along just fine, and expect them to be around for a long time.

This year, Family Chronicle is 15 years old, and Internet Genealogy is five years old.

Over the years, I have written a number of articles for Ed in all three publications, and appreciate the chance to have written for DFH, as well as the other magazines.

I wish Ed and Rick and the staff at Moorshead Magazines continued success.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"News and Views" - Leeds and Grenville Newsletter

News and Views—the newsletter of the Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society—arrived recently, and, as usual, is full of interesting articles and information.

The first article is on the Graham Burying Ground (sometimes known as the Luckey Farm Burial Ground) in Kitley Township.

Originally published in 1996, the article has been brought up to date by Larry Driver when the question arose as to who owns the land now. You will have to read the article to find the answer.

"Lost and Found in Elizabethtown" is an article by Terrance Edwards on how he explored the life of George Boulton of Lyn. In "A Short Story about Schools in Maitland, Ontario", the reason is given as to why all the schools were built, inlcuding pictures of some of the schools.

On the other pages, they have reports for 2009, upcoming meetings and special events, and queries.

Their website is and their email is

News and Views Editor, Myrtle Johnston, is always on the lookout for articles and queries. She can be reached at

Saturday, April 24, 2010

FamilySearch Offers Workshop on Toronto

This year's OGS Conference is sponsored in part by FamilySearch, "Where Generations Meet".

Stephen Young, a project manager with FamilySearch, will lead a workshop in "New Toronto Research Tools" on Saturday afternoon, and will also deliver a newly-scheduled Saturday lunchtime learning lecture on new developments at FamilySearch.

What you may not know is that Young was born in London, Ontario, although he now works for the Utah-based LDS Church.

Currently, he is working on a book about his father's experience in the Canadian Navy Volunteers Reserve during World War Two.

He can be reached at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OGS Conference 2010 is Nigh

Hello again,

It's been over a month since I have posted on the blog.

I feel bad about this, but the work demands on my time have been great since December, which didn't leave much time for the blog.

My time was taken up with doing the May issue of the Ontario Genealogical Society's print newsletter, NewsLeaf (this is the big issue, complete with reports), three issues of the electronic e-NewsLeaf, ten magazine articles, two conferences, and so on and so forth ... phew!

But I am back now, just in time for Conference 2010 in Toronto next month.

This week, I received this press release from the organizers of the conference, and I thought I would pass it along to you in case you are still deciding...


Let's spread the word outside our usual circles ...

We need your help to make sure news of these special Conference 2010 programs gets to the people who need to know.

Do you know anyone who is?
· of Dutch descent
· of Italian heritage
· wanting the scoop on how "libraries" can help people trace their roots

Our information-packed Conference has it!

Dutch Ancestry Stream (Saturday, May 15) - three expert speakers on finding your Dutch Ancestors, researching European records & strategies, and a case study on how it's done - perfect for anyone you know with Dutch ancestry

Italian Ancestry Stream (Saturday, May 15) - four lectures on Italian family history research, finding Italian records & how to get started and a fascinating case history of Italian immigrants finding their way to Canada - help spread the news to your Italian friends and neighbours

Libraries & Genealogy (Thursday, May 13) - Ontario Library Association is presenting a full-day workshop designed for people looking for local family information and for novice and experienced providers of family history and genealogy services - make sure your local librarians are aware of this opportunity.

Just a few weeks away ...

OGS Conference 2010 will be held May 14-16 at the Doubletree by Hilton-Toronto Airport.

There's still time for new registrants. Complete details of program, speakers and registration can be found on the conference website.

Pass this on to anyone you think might be interested! In fact, please "tell two people, and so on, and so on". We appreciate your help!

Ontario Genealogical Society | 40 Orchard View Blvd., Suite 102 | Toronto | ON | M4R 1B9 | Canada

Friday, March 5, 2010

Quinte Branch - Online Finding Aid

The following is an announcement regarding an update made by the Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) to its online finding aid.

It was sent in by Bob Dawes, the IT Coordinator of Quinte Branch.


The Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society has expanded its online Names Index Database finding aid by adding a self-help document.

Even though the finding aid's primary purpose is to find a reference in the group's research library, there is a lot of information that can be extracted from the search tool by itself. For example, there are newspaper birth, marriage and death notices where the page reference identifies the publication date which would be close to the event date.

In other cases, just being able to decode the library reference code of a family genealogy to its actual title by cross-referencing the search results with the online Library Catalogue means you can look for it in other libraries or online. Using this new self-help tool will enable researchers, at a distance, to do their own initial investigative work without having to contact a branch volunteer to do it for them. The document is supplied in PDF format so it can be downloaded and printed for local use.

With over one million surname references, this database is a significant resource for genealogists researching ancestors in the Bay of Quinte region of Ontario, Canada. The new self-help guide can be found under "Using the Names Index Database Finding Aid" on the Quinte Branch homepage at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ontario Family History Research Course

The following item was sent to me by Gwyneth Pearce of the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society -

For those with Ontario roots, the next 4-week Ontario Family History Research course offered by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society starts on March 9th.

To register, visit the Branch website at

Here is the course description:


Searching for ancestors in Ontario? This course will provide a brief historical
background and introduce records essential to Ontario research including land and property records, vital statistics (pre- and post- 1869), estate records, census, directories and maps – with emphasis on 19th century sources.

Course: 4 sessions, Tuesdays 7–9 PM, March 9–March 30

Location: North York Central Library, Meeting Room 2

Instructor: Jane MacNamara

Fee: $66 ($60 for OGS members)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I always enjoy receiving Connections from the Quebec Family History Society.

This time, it's the Winter 2010 issue, and I wasn't disappointed.

For articles, they have "The Haunted House of Sir George A. Drummon", "Patriots' Prison", and the "Edifice Gilles Hocquart", all written by Robert N. Nixon.

"Treasure in France", by Ransom Vrooman, and "Surviving the Russian Quagmire 1942-1945", by E. Peter McLoughlin, round out the article in this edition.

Although I haven't had the chance to go to any of their meetings yet, I like to read about them, and I hear that they will have the conference in June next year - that will be a treat that I am looking forward to with great anticipation!

Besides reading the articles, I also like to read the newest library acquisitions since the last issue, the Queries section, and a chance to see what is new on the computer page, and in genealogical software.

So, if you have English ancestors in Quebec, or have some who lived in Quebec, and you don't belong to the society, maybe it's time you checked out the Quebec Family History Society because they offer a lot for the money.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

BC Genealogists

December (which I thought was going to be a quiet month) turned out to be among the busiest I have ever had as far as writing articles is concerned.

Now that I have a few weeks free, I will try to post blogs more often. This is a special blog because it is about The British Columbia Genealogist, and it's all about sports. The BC Genealogist is tipping its hat to the Olympics that will be there in February.

They have a number of articles on different sports and its stars, such as Lionel E. YORKE, who played Lacrosse; Baseball in the Fifties from Merritt, BC; Tommy PHILLIPS, Hockey Player; George ELLEY, Stanley Park Race Runner; Eleanor McKENZIE and Ron MILLER, Olympic Athletes; the Dawson Creek Ladies Curling Club; and the Vancouver Y.M.C.A.

There are other articles about the trip some of the members took to Salt Lake City, a profile of the South Peace Roots Group, and Manitoba Reunions in Vancouver, 1910.

This is always a very-well put-together newsletter, with lots of interesting articles.

The website is