Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spadina’s Austin Family and the Great War, June 3, 2016

From Gwyneth Pearce, Publicity – Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

I am writing to you on behalf of the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society to let you know about a special event that we are offering on Friday 3 June in partnership with the annual OGS Conference. This is a unique opportunity for anyone with an interest in early 20th century Toronto, social history or the First World War, and we hope you will consider sharing the information with your members, patrons and colleagues.

Registration is now open for “Spadina’s Austin Family and the Great War”, a full-day program at the Spadina Museum, which was home to Toronto’s prominent Austin family for more than a century. The day will begin with a guided tour of the mansion, now restored to its 1920s and 1930s glory, followed by a boxed lunch and time to explore the grounds and gardens. In the afternoon, two expert presentations, including discussions and hands-on sessions with artifacts and archival documents, will help participants learn about the Great War and its aftermath through the eyes of a soldier, a nurse and the affluent family left on the home front.

A bus will be bringing Conference 2016 registrants to Spadina Museum from the Conference venue, the International Plaza Hotel near Toronto’s Pearson Airport, in the morning and returning them there at the end of the day. Participants not attending Conference 2016 may choose to either travel on the bus or join the group at Spadina Museum.

For further details and registration information, visit the Toronto Branch website. I have included a notice for this event suitable for bulletin-board posting should that be a possibility.

Thank you for helping to spread the word about our Toronto Branch activities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Full-day Workshop on Quebec Family History, Saturday, April 16, 2016

From publicity@torontofamilyhistory.org:

"Registration is now open for our full-day workshop on Quebec Family History on Saturday 16 April. We hope this information will be of interest to you and your colleagues, members and patrons.

This workshop will feature three expert presenters. Gary Schroder, the long-time President of the Quebec Family History Society, will demonstrate how to access and use church and civil registers, as well as census, probate, land, tax and other records to research your Quebec ancestors. Reference archivist Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne will tell us about some of the many archival treasures that can be found at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, including judicial records and coroners’ files, as well as resources that are available online. And Ryerson University historian Dan Horner will examine the history of migration into and out of the province and the impact it has had on Quebec culture and society.

We hope you will consider joining us to spend a day exploring the history and genealogy of the people of “La Belle Province”!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Web Hosting Options

As you may know by now, our current web host and mailing list management provider, Rootsweb, experienced hardware issues in March, 2016. We were unable to email notices of our March meeting to our members, and could not gain access to our web site in order to update its content.

If we want to have reliable web hosting with more features, we may wish to consider using a paid hosting service. I currently use Sectorlink (www.sectorlink.com) and am satisfied with their service and the features they offer. The plan I would recommend, and which I use, costs $5.95 USD per month. In addition to this cost, we would also be required to register a domain name. Further, we would also be required to pay a small domain name renewal fee each year. The costs are not high, but our group is small.

(If we wish to host with a Canadian company, I would recommend using the services of blacksun.ca)

My preference would be to use the free facilities offered by Facebook. I've already set up a closed group on Facebook (it's currently inactive); the group's contents are accessible only by request. My understanding is that some folks are concerned about privacy issues, since they would be required to set up an account on Facebook. Here's an article that may give you some idea as to how thoroughly you can protect your privacy on Facebook:


Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions about our current situation? Other options include using either Yahoo or Google groups, but I have yet to determine whether one must have a Yahoo or Google email account to participate, or view the respective content.

DNA Testing

This URL leads to a page that lists companies offering DNA testing services:


According to the site, "This is a list of DNA testing companies offering direct-to-consumer (DTC) DNA tests for genealogy, deep ancestry and biogeographical ancestry. This list is provided for information only. Inclusion on this list does not imply recommendation or endorsement by ISOGG. ISOGG welcomes additions and corrections to this list. Please contact us with the appropriate details."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rootsweb Hardware Issues

Unfortunately, we are unable to send out meeting notifications to our members due to hardware issues at Rootsweb. In addition, it is not possible to edit the content of our website (http://www.rootsweb.com/~onegg/) in order to update meeting details. Here is what Rootsweb has to say:

“We're currently experiencing a temporary website outage due to RootsWeb hardware failure. Rest assured, our development and web operations teams are busy working to securely restore the site as quickly as possible.

Our initial expectation is to have the site back up and running on or around March 15, 2016. We apologize for the disruption and thank-you for your patience. We will provide other updates here as we have them.”

Please check for details of our meeting via the "Meeting Announcements" menu item to the right of this post.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sousterrain Impressions Exhibition

Per the Sousterrain Impressions Exhibition web site, the exhibition features First World War carvings created by Canadian Soldiers in caves near Vimy Ridge in 1917.

More information about the exhibition can be found at The Sousterrain Impressions Exhibition. Many of the other web sites that refer to it do not include the exhibition hours, so please be aware that the Sousterrain Exhibition is open as follows (one of our EGG members found out the hard way!):

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please check the website before visiting as there are also a few exceptions to these hours and it is possible that the schedule may change. (Remembrance Day Hours: Wed Nov 11, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.).

The venue is:

Stonebrook Presentation Centre
2007 Lakeshore Rd. W.
L5J 0A1

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners

Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners Roberta Estes blogs about Britain's over 200 years of slave ownership before the abolition of slavery in 1834. You can read her comments at:

When slavery was abolished, slave owners were compensated. There is a database of slave owners who received compensation at:
In some cases there is biographical information.

Roberta also provides links to two BBC documentaries. I've only viewed the first, called Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners Episode 01
What astounded me was not only the tremendous amount of money paid out to the former slave owners for their loss of property, but just how many Brits were actually slave owners. The very wealthy ones with large plantations were concentrated in London, Bristol and Liverpool. as expected, but small slave owners were spread throughout the country and included clergyman, widows and many in Scotland.
Source: OGS, Toronto Branch

Free e-book on Genetic Genealogy

Free e-book on Genetic Genealogy
Family Tree University is offering an e-book called Jump Into Genetic Genealogy: Use Genealogical DNA Testing to Solve Family Mysteries. You can download it free at:

Source:  OGS, Toronto Branch

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Upcoming Family History Events

We recently learned of the following family history events that have been planned by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society: 
  • Atlantic Canada Genealogy – a full-day workshop on Saturday 17 October to explore the resources available to help you find your Atlantic ancestors. Led by keynote speaker Terrence M. Punch of Halifax, with additional lectures by Roberta Clark and Terri Raymond, this workshop will focus on understanding the patterns and sources of immigration into the four Atlantic provinces over the past four hundred years as well as subsequent migrations from Atlantic Canada to other parts of Canada and to the United States. Early-bird rates apply until September 22 and OGS members enjoy additional discounts. For full program and speaker details and to register online, visit http://torontofamilyhistory.org/learn/workshops/atlantic-canada-genealogy-workshop/.
  • Basic Genealogy and Family History – two eight-week courses led by instructor Jane E. MacNamara designed for those who are just setting out on their family history journeys or who wish to upgrade their basic research skills. One course will be held at Riverdale Public Library on Tuesday evenings from 6 October to 24 November, and the other at North York Central Library on Wednesday afternoons from 7 October to 25 November. Learn how to "think like a genealogist"! For details and to register online, visit http://torontofamilyhistory.org/learn/courses/.