Getting the Most Out of Attendance at the 2019 Ontario Ancestors Conference at London


Open admission. This blog post is a revised version of the post that I made prior to the 2018 OGS Conference in Guelph, Ontario. Most of the content did not need to be changed as it is as relevant as it was last year. I have revised the information about local genealogical and historical collections to reflect those in counties around the City of London, Ontario, the site of this years Ontario Ancestors Conference.

This post will take the place of my second Friday of the month post in order to allow attendees at the conference time to plan any research outings based on this information about potential research repositories. I will return to the format of second and four Fridays posts in July.

Having attended a number of OGS Conferences over the years I offer the following suggestions to participants as a way to get the most out of the event.

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 person an opportunity to let you know if the materials you note 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.
• Check regarding any cost to use the facility or for parking. Ask about the use of personal computers, cameras and scanners. The rules vary among facilities. Ask about availability of electrical receptacles for recharging of electronic devices.

I have included contact information for museums as well because these repositories can hold archival documents like diaries and family information for inhabitants who lived in the immediate area. Not all museums are included in this list so do contact the local Ontario Ancestors Branch for additional information.

Elgin County
Elgin County Branch Ontario Ancestors
Check the website for indexes. Many of the Branch’s publications are online. See also their page of links to the Elgin County Archives and Public Library System.

Elgin County Archives
450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas

Elgin County Public Library
Location Information for Branches
Collection Information

Huron County
Huron County Branch Ontario Ancestors Library [log cabin in front of Huron County Museum] 110 North St., Goderich, ON
Website and Collection Information
The Log Cabin library will be open only on Wednesdays, 1:30 – 4:00 pm. (and until 7:00 on meeting nights). We will be open by appointment on the other days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) from the first Wednesday in April till the first Wednesday in November. We ask you to book your appointment a minimum of 7 working days in advance. We will not be open on holidays. If no library volunteer is available, you will be informed by e-mail.
To book your visit, please contact our librarian at

Huron County Museum
110 North St., Goderich, ON
Check out the digitized newspapers that can be found at the Museum’s webpage.

Huron County [Public] Library

Kent County
Kent County Branch Ontario Ancestors Library
120 Queen St., Chatham ON
Collection Information
The library is located within the Chatham-Kent Public Library on the second floor adjacent to the McKeough Room. The library is open from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Wednesdays through Saturdays, subject to volunteer availability. If you are travelling from a distance, please contact the library in advance to confirm library hours or to schedule an appointment. Our library has extensive holdings and is equipped with two computers, two microfilm readers, and a microfiche reader.

During Kent Branch library hours, the volunteer on duty can be reached at: 519.354.2940 x 4873
Hours: 1:00pm – 5:00pm, Wednesdays-Saturdays (excluding holiday and holiday weekends)
Open Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only.

Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society

Lambton County
787 Broadway Street, Wyoming, Ontario
Lambton County Archives/Lambton County Branch Ontario Ancestors Collection
Lambton County Archives Collection Information
Lambton County Library Catalogue

The books held in the Lambton County Archives collection can be searched in the Lambton County Library catalogue. Be sure to select “Lambton County Archives” under “Location” to restrict your search to just the items on our shelves.

The Archives holds the original land record instruments which can be accessed by getting the correct documents using the ONland website. There is no longer any access to the original Land Abstract Books due to conservation issues. The Archives has Family Files and a lot of other interesting archival information. Many research aides [books] are on open shelves in the research room for speedy access.

Lambton County Branch Collection

Lambton Home

Lambton County Branch has scanned its publications and can do a search across them by surname. These searches can be requested at the Branch table in Marketplace.
The Branch collection of family histories and other books can be found in its collection held at the archives.

Lambton County Museums
This website provides information about Lambton Heritage Museum and the Oil Museum.
Moore Museum
Sombra Museum

London/Middlesex County
London Middlesex County Branch Ontario Ancestors Collection/ Strathroy Public Library, Strathroy
34 Frank Street, Strathroy
Library Collection Information
The Wright Family Research Room is inside the Strathroy Public Library. The London Middlesex Branch Collection can be accessed there.
London Middlesex Branch Collection Information

London Public Library– Ivey Family London Room
251 Dundas Street, London [park in Galleria Mall] From the website:
“For those researchers conducting family history research, collection emphasis is southwestern Ontario and includes: censuses, cemetery transcriptions, vital statistics indexes, birth/marriage/death records, passenger lists and family histories.”

Glencoe and District Historical Society

Western University Library
Shared Library Catalogue which includes the Archives
Western University Archives

Anglican Diocese of Huron Archives
1349 Western Road, London
Collection Information

Perth County Archives
Stratford-Perth Archives
4273 Line 34, R.R. #5 Stratford, ON N5A 6S6
Collection Information

Oxford County
Oxford County Branch Ontario Ancestors Library
82 Light Street, Court House Square, Woodstock
Collection Information
The Oxford County Branch research library is a non-lending, private library that is open to the general public Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. It is located at 82 Light Street, Court House Square, Woodstock Ontario. Volunteers are on hand to assist with locating material and providing instruction on the use of equipment

Princeton District Historical Society (Part of Library Building)
25 Main Street
Princeton, Ontario N0J 1M0

Plattsville District Historical Society
816661 Oxford Rd 22 (no mail at this address)
Chesterfield N0J 1B0

Norwich Museum and Archives
89 Stover St N RR 3
Norwich, Ontario N0J 1P0

Woodstock Museum
466 Dundas Street
Woodstock, On. N4S 0A7

Beachville District Museum
584371 Beachville Rd,
Beachville, ON N0J 1A0

My thanks go to Bert Jansen of the Oxford County Branch of Ontario Ancestors for the information about museums in Oxford County.

At the Conference
Do check out Marketplace. A number of Branches and Special Interest Groups tables will likely be set up. 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 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.

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
Ontario Ancestors [The Ontario Genealogical Society]
© 2019


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