J. Brian Gilchrist, 1956-2014, passed away May 1, 2014 at the Brampton Civic Hospital. He was the founder of EGG and will be greatly missed by his many friends.
In 1983, Brian was teaching genealogy courses to people interested in exploring their family history. Level one progressed to level two and then expanded to researching English, Irish and Scottish records. He taught us to start with what we know, research to prove it and then to 'cite' our sources. We learned to ask questions, think logically and look at the big picture. He even gave us an assignment which he would read and make suggestions to help us along our way.
His passion was contagious and we were soon "hooked". Many happy years have followed with such an interesting and satisfying hobby.
Brian soon realized his "kids" were networking and becoming friends. They wanted to stay together in order to learn by sharing. This prompted him to find a solution. He founded the Etobicoke Genealogy Group in 1986. EGG for short. He kept a close eye on them in the formative years and made sure they were comfortable. They even made group trips to Salt Lake City to do family research. What fun they had.
Since then, the group has conducted monthly meetings in Etobicoke and done what other groups do. There have been field trips to archives, cemeteries, libraries etc. Under his guidance they transcribed the gravestones in the St. George cemetery. We have speakers to enlighten us, chart nights to get ideas, show and tell to see treasures and discussions to share info and learn. Brian would visit us in the spring to see how we were doing and share his knowledge with us. These were special evenings. If he spotted a new member, he would make a point of meeting them. He always wanted people to feel welcome.
As you may know, Brian was awarded the Queen's Jubllee medal last year. We were just as happy as he was. Two months ago, at our March 2014 meeting, we celebrated this honour with him. It was so nice to see him enjoy sharing stories and knowledge with us. He cut the cake, we drank tea and Brian knew we were honouring him. What a lovely evening it was.
After nearly 30 years our group (which incidentally includes some of those original students) is still Learning and Sharing. We are a family of friends and have Brian to thank for this.
Meetings are informative, and there is always lots of time for discussion either on the subject of the evening, or family history in general. If one person does not know the answer, someone else will probably be able to guide you.
Meetings are held at The Etobicoke Civic Centre at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd Thursday of each month.
There is no membership fee, but a pay-what-you-can policy ($2 is recommended) is in effect at each meeting. See you soon!