Getting the Most Out of Attendance at the 2018 Ontario Genealogical Society Conference at Guelph

Having attended a number of Ontario Genealogical Society Conferences over the years I offer the following suggestions to participants as a way to get the most out of the 2018 Conference.

Before You Go – Checking Out Collections at Libraries and Archives
If you are planning to make use of one of the collections at any of the archives or libraries in the Guelph area before, during or after the conference consider the following suggestions:
• check any online catalogue that the institution has to see what materials appear to be of value in your research
• contact the archivist or reference librarian in advance, noting briefly who you are researching and the materials that you found mentioned online. This will give the archivist or reference librarian an opportunity to let you know if the materials you noted will be of value and whether or not there are other materials instead that will be of value. On my road trip to the Stratford Perth Archives branch in Listowel [since consolidated into one Archive location near Stratford], the advance contact meant that I was provided with a folder of material about the person/family I was researching as soon as I checked in. The items were materials that I did not know existed and ones I would not have thought to ask about.

The three repositories that I have personal experience using are:
Wellington County Museum & Archives

Guelph Public Library
The library collection of the Wellington County Branch of OGS is held at the main library.

University of Guelph
McLaughlin Library
I spent a number of hours in this library accessing microfilm of local newspapers.

Scottish Studies
A collection of Scottish Studies theses completed at the Centre is kept in the office and the Scottish Studies Archival Collection is held at the McLaughlin Library.

At the Conference
Do check out Marketplace. A number of Branches and Special Interest Groups will likely have a table. Members are quite willing to answer questions and to help with potential research strategies. The companies that have a presence in the Marketplace will also be staffed by knowledgeable people. Other heritage organizations often make a point of being in Marketplace and their staffers can provide information. Fast Trax presentations will likely occur in Marketplace and may be of value in your research.

Attending Presentations
Attending the presentations given by both accredited professional genealogists and genealogists with a lot of research experience is a must. Do get contact information if you find that they are willing to respond to requests re research strategies. Most will not conduct research for you unless you hire them so keep that in mind when you make requests.

Be Social
Talk with other participants. Sit down with other researchers who are not familiar to you when having meals or resting. Remember that the best way to initiate a conversation is to ask a fellow researcher about her/his research – brick walls, DNA testing and so on. This is a time to get contact information as well.

If you happen to come across me somewhere on the Conference site, don’t hesitate to say hello.

Alan Campbell
Past President
Ontario Genealogical Society
© 2018 

 

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