The Ontario Genealogical Society takes on projects — large-scale efforts that will be of value to genealogists and family researchers. Some are realized by the coordinated efforts of OGS Branches; some are done by a group of volunteers. All provide information needed by genealogists that is unlikely to be found elsewhere. OGS and its dedicated volunteers are one of the major suppliers of Ontario genealogical information.
It is volunteers that make this work happen, and we are always seeking more volunteers. Many of these projects can be done at a distance. If one of the current projects interests you, please contact the Provincial Office to find out how you might be able to help.
- Keeping and Valuing Ontario’s Heritage
TONI (The Ontario Name Index)
- Ongoing Projects
- Cemetery Projects
Places of Worship Records Inventory Index
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Insurance Records
Ontario Genealogical Society Provincial Index (OGSPI)
- Recently Completed Projects
- Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers
Index to Upper Canada Land Books
Keeping and Valuing Ontario ’s Heritage
- Keeping and Valuing Ontario’s Heritage is The Ontario Genealogical Society project that offers digitization services to heritage organizations throughout Ontario. Any heritage organization may contact the Provincial Office to indicate their interest in the project.
Through this project, digitized materials will be placed on the pay-per-view (PPV) section of the OGS website. This will allow web users to access documents from across Ontario in the comfort of their own homes. For a minimal fee, a user will be able to access documents such as vital statistic records, family history collections, church and school histories, and obituary collections. Other records that will be available include Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir Histories, land grant records, and tax records like assessment and collector’s rolls.
The OGS has access to several pieces of scanning equipment, including a large sheet-feed scanner that operates like a photocopier, a microfilm scanner, an automated book scanner and a copy stand. The copy stand is the piece of equipment most often used, as it can accommodate large or small and bound or unbound documents. It can be easily moved and set up in any organization’s office space.
Digitization is very important as it allows a second copy of the information to exist. While nothing can replace the paper copy of a document, the digital copy will preserve the information, should the original be lost in a fire or flood. Digitization also improves the accessibility of the records and the inclusion of the documents in the PPV site can help promote small heritage organizations.
The heritage organization retains all ownership of the digitized documents and receives a digital copy of the documents. OGS will also retain a copy of the documents, allowing for a backup to exist, which increases the security of the records. Any one interested in more information is welcome to contact the Provincial Office.
TONI - The Ontario Name Index
- Search TONI
- Project Co-ordinator: Mike More firstname.lastname@example.org
- Indexes, particularly name indexes, are the most valuable thing a genealogical society can produce.
- The Ontario Name Index (TONI) is a mega-index of names with the goal of including every name found in any publication relating to Ontario.
- The index will point people to the location of the information about that name. The location may be a Branch document, a web site, a microfilm, a family history, an archive, etc.
- TONI is an indexing program and NOT a digitization program. Unlike some of our commercial and non-commercial colleagues, we are not limiting TONI to digitized sources and indexing them.
- TONI will be on the public part of the OGS website so that anyone can access it.
Working on TONI includes:
- converting and importing the existing electronic indices at both the Branch and Society level i.e. Ontario Cemetery Ancestor Index, Ottawa Branch Name Index;
- digitizing and importing existing hard copy indices;
- indexing existing electronic and hard-copy documents and importing them, including family histories, Tweedsmuir histories, items in the e-library, etc. Branch publications such as cemeteries, census, newspapers and other transcriptions that they have done; and
- Indexes to digitized documents produced for other organizations as part of the scanning project could be included with permission of the owner.
What do we want to include in TONI?
- Any source that contains a name in Ontario. You know what documents you have looked at and think about how an index would have helped you locate those documents faster and easier.
- All Branches and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are invited to take part in the TONI project.
TONI was officially launched at the Ontario Genealogical Society's Annual General Meeting on May 14, 2011.
If you have questions or want to get involved, contact Mike More, TONI Provincial Coordinator email@example.com.
- Monument Transcriptions
- The locating and transcribing of all known cemeteries in Ontario.
More than 6,000 cemeteries have been located and over 5,700 have been transcribed. Published transcriptions are available through local Branches.
- Ontario Cemetery Locator
- A directory to cemeteries in Ontario; may be used to locate cemetery transcriptions in pamphlet, book or microform format. Search the Index.
- Ontario Cemetery Ancestor Index
- Names taken from transcriptions of the monumental inscriptions, cemetery records. Search the Index.
Places of Worship Records Inventory Project
- The locating and listing of all places of worship in Ontario in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries in Ontario and the current location of existing records of baptisms, marriages, burials and other related data. contact
the Branch located in the area of Ontario that you are researching for information on current publications.
- A Stray is a recorded event in which a person has had a significant life event in a place other than their place of origin, provided that either the event or the origin is in Ontario. For example, a person who is born in Edmonton and married in Ottawa is a Stray, as is someone married in Windsor and died in Detroit. Strays are found in such records as marriage registers, civil registration records, newspapers, census returns, grave markers, land records, biographies, burial registers, and local history books.
If you find a stray during your research, contact the Strays Coordinator at the Provincial Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, who will send you an Excel spreadsheet in which to enter your findings.
Ontario Genealogical Society Provincial Index (OGSPI)
- An ongoing project that seeks to list all sorts of information about everybody. There is data from censuses, birth, marriage and death registers, references in books, land records, ship lists, military records and a host of other references. Each entry points to the original source, which you can then look up for the complete reference. It takes a bit of time to learn to use well but it is worth the effort. Currently there are over 2.8 million names - and it keeps on growing. Search the index.
Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers
Beginning in 1843, Wesleyan Methodist ministers kept a book of entries of births and baptisms and submitted each year's book to the Conference Office. Entries were then copied into the General Register, arranged by township, town, village and circuit. Records of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and its subsequent evolutions go from 1826 to 1910.
The project was initiated by Dorothy Martin and Sandra Moore in and became a project of the Society in November 2000. Transcriptions of the microfilmed baptismal records are being compiled and submitted to the United Church of Canada Archives who hold copyright on these records. The United Church has allowed the Ontario Genealogical Society to transcribe and sell these records through its thirty Branches located throughout Ontario.
Published Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register Indexes
To obtain copies of these baptismal record indexes, contact the Branch in the area in which you are doing your family research.
Upper Canada Land Books
- The Upper Canada Land Record Books record the minutes of the meetings of the Executive Council of the Land Board which were held between the years 1791 and 1847. During this period, the Executive Council had the authority over land granting or selling of crown lands in Upper Canada. Petitioners would have been settlers, military claimants, and Loyalists.
There are 24 Land Books with approximately 72,000 names of Ontario pioneers. The index includes every name located in the records as well as residence, petition number, the location of the land, the Land Book and page number. The Upper Canada Land Books Indexes are available as a CD.
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
- The Independent Order of Oddfellows operated a life insurance program through the Empire Insurance Company. From 1875 to 1929 approximately 59,000 people took out IOOF insurance. A database of these names is approximately 80% complete.