New to Genealogy and Family History Research? This Might Help

August 30th, 2014
How to Research Your Family History: Part 1

Work from the known to the unknown

Genealogical work usually moves back in time, going from something we know to something we do not know. First piece of advice: Start with yourself. You probably know when and where you were born, who your siblings are, when and where your parents were born and were married, their siblings (your aunts and uncles) and hopefully, your grandparents.

Take the time to talk to as many of the older members of your family as you can. Ask if anyone has done a family tree. Ask when the family came to Canada, where from, where they settled in Ontario and where your ancestors worshipped.

When you have all this data from family members, write it up! Draw the trees, create the family records, note who told what to you and when. Finally, organize your records! See an earlier blog post Controlling the Chaos, for some organizational tips.

The OGS has also published several books to help you get started – and continue – researching your family history:

More titles are available on the OGS eStore.

When you have learned all you can from your family, it’s time to start searching Ontario records. The Archives of Ontario would be an excellent place to start.

Keffer Writing Contest

August 26th, 2014

It has recently come to our attention that the word count for the Keffer Writing Contest has to be adjusted due to the increased content now asked for in the endnotes.

While the number of words in the text remains the same (1,500 to 2,000 words), the endnotes will not be counted in the total number of words.

The deadline for essays is November 1st, 2014.

For more details about the Keffer Writing Contest, please visit the Essay Competitions page on the OGS website

Reminder: OGS Member’s Webinar for September

August 23rd, 2014

21st Century Genealogy: How to Use Social Media in Your Family History
Speaker: Kathryn Hogan
Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 @ 10:00 a.m. (PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE)

Learn how using social media such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and more can help you find your ancestors, new cousins and keep in touch with your relatives right from the comfort of your home.

Kathryn Hogan is graduate of the National Institute of Genealogical Studies where she earned the Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies. She enjoys speaking both nationally and internationally at local, and provincial/state societies, and regional conferences. Her webinars featuring Canadian family history topics appeal to family historians from around the world. Kathryn is currently the OGS Webinar Coordinator.

Up to 100 people can access this webinar at one time. The room will open 10 minutes before the session is scheduled to start. We are no longer accepting pre-registrations for webinars but it you would like a personal reminder, please contact

If you wish to check that your computer and network connections will work well with Adobe Connect, you will find more detailed access instructions visiting: and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Find Your Ancestors in Municipal Records

August 23rd, 2014

Now that fall is almost here, are you thinking of kick-starting your family history research? One often overlooked resource for new information is municipal records.

By definition these records are all local and, if you’re lucky, they can provide some really specific details about your ancestors. Assessment Rolls, Collector Rolls, Voter Lists, and Board of Health records are just some of the records to be found. The OGS publication Municipal Records in Ontario: History and Guide describes these records and has appendices which list every municipality in Ontario that could have produced records and tells you where these records may be found.

To purchase a copy of this, and other OGS publications, please visit the  OGS e-store.

Reminder: New Blog Category – Brickwalls

August 23rd, 2014

Don’t forget our new category for the OGS Blog: Brickwalls.

The intent behind this is to offer those researching their family history a place to seek – and offer –  assistance for that inevitable and much dreaded brickwall. Please keep in mind that this is not intended – nor can it – function as a research service. If you require the services of a professional genealogist, your best bet is to visit the website for the Association of Professional Genealogists: The APG also has an Ontario chapter:

Here’s how it works – aka, The House Rules:

If you have hit a brickwall, you may send a detailed, but brief, i.e. no more than 4 paragraphs, query to: blog[at] – please use Brickwall Query in the subject line of your message.

Once your query has been posted, anyone who believes they can offer assistance may contact you in one of two ways:

  1. Include contact information in your query – Keep in mind though – this is a public site!!
  2. Not comfortable with putting your info out there? No problem – folks can simply leave any info they may have in the comments sections of your post – you just have to remember to check the blog regularly to see if any comments have been left for you.

Please note: Submissions may be edited for length and the protection of personal information.

All comments are moderated before being made public

Loyalist Descendants in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa

August 19th, 2014

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada the Sir Guy Carleton Branch will conduct a tour of Beechwood Cemetery featuring the lives of some Loyalists and their descendants who are buried there.

Date: Saturday, September 14, 2014

Time: 1:00 – 3:00pm

Location: Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa ; meet in front of the Main Office by 12:50 pm

Light refreshments will be served after the tour. All are welcome

To book your place on the tour please contact: by September 4, 2014

Beechwood Cemetery was established in 1873, and is recognized as one of the most beautiful and historic cemeteries in Canada. It is the final resting place for over 75,000 Canadians, including our Canadian Forces Veterans, War Dead, RCMP members, Governors-General and Prime Ministers and our everyday Canadian heroes, our families and our loved ones. Beechwood is the home of the National Military Cemetery and the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery, and is a National Historic Site. In 2009, it was designated the National Cemetery of Canada by an Act of Parliament.

WWI and OGS Member in the News

August 16th, 2014

A recent Toronto Star article details a recent discovery made regarding the bodies and belongings of 16 lost Canadian soldiers of the Great War. The whereabouts of 14 of those sets of remains are still unknown today, but through the work of Genealogist and OGS member Janet Roy, two of them have at last been accounted for.

Read the Star’s article here


Register Now for the Scottish Special Interest Group Symposium

August 16th, 2014

The countdown is on, but there is still time to join the OGS Scottish SIG for a one day Symposium.

Date: Friday Aug. 22, 2014, at the

Location: Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Vaughan, ON.

Build your skills by hearing terrific speakers,

James Thomson: Basic Scottish Research
Linda Reid: Using DNA to Confirm or Deny Genealogical Relationships
Ruth Blair: Scots-Irish Research
Dr. Kevin James: Scottish Emigration
Christine Woodcock: Tracking Scots Emigrant Ancestors

There will also be a variety of vendors who specialize in Genealogy, Scottish Clans, and Scotland.

Be a vendor!

A block of rooms has been booked at the Marriott for those wishing to stay the night before, or the night of the Symposium. A group rate of $130 includes a double room and breakfast.

Register now!

For more information, please visit the Scottish SIG website

OGS Conference 2015 Call for Speakers

August 16th, 2014

OGS is seeking proposals for presentations for Conference 2015: Tracks Through Time.

The theme originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we track our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are tracking the right people from the right line. The variations on “Tracks through Time” are endless.

Check out our official Call for Speakers and prepare your proposal right away.
Deadline: September 12, 2014

From Niagara Peninsula Branch – Discovery of an Unknown Cemetery

August 12th, 2014