Keynotes 

The Spirit of the Next Generation: Why Age Doesn’t Matter in Genealogy – Jen Baldwin – Friday Evening 

We are living through a great time in genealogy. Innovation. Technology. Genetic genealogy. Digitization at a pace we have never known before. There is so much happening, and many of us struggle to keep up with it all! And yet, we have the opportunity to do all of that and more if we broaden our community, learn from each other, and adopt the Spirit of the Next Generation. 

Telling Old Stories with New Media – Adam Bunch – Saturday Morning 

New technologies like social media and smartphones are transforming the way histories can be told. Adam will discuss some of the possibilities of historical storytelling in the digital age, delving into exciting new ways of exploring the past and connecting with new audiences. He’ll share some of the insights he’s learned by working on the CanadianaYouTube series and his multimedia Toronto Dreams Project, which aims to bring history alive through a combination of new and traditional media. 

Bringing the Dead to Life – Adam Bunch – Banquet 

History is too often presented as a dry list of dates and events, while the full lives our ancestors led are overlooked — forgotten behind cemetery gates and in dusty archival records. But they were human beings who had the same kinds of passions, fears and hopes as we do, shaped by the times they lived in. Sharing stories from his Toronto Book of the Dead and Canadianadocumentary series, Adam Bunch will explore the importance of connecting with the vivid tales of those who have come before us, helping to bring their histories to life. 

A Narrative Worth Telling: The Emotive Journey of Family History – Jen Baldwin – Sunday Closing 

Family history is a pursuit of our origins, our stories, and our community. It is an incredibly emotional pursuit, bringing out the full range of human emotional capacity, and as a result, can be very overwhelming. Each of us has a contribution to the human story and it is our efforts to explore that narrative and share it – good and bad – that makes genealogy such a powerful entity. 

Lectures 

Seeing Clear Across the Border: Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley – Garry Finkell 

Genealogy is like archaeology:  the deeper we dig, the more layers of history we uncover.  The further back in time we trace, the greater is our understanding of our present family.   

The presenter’s Finckel/Finkle ancestors were among the 3,000 Palatine Germans who arrived in New York in 1710 and he believed they had always lived in New York.  In doing further research, he was puzzled to find a large number of relatives with the same surname who lived in Ontario, and he set out to learn when this migration occurred and why it happened. During the course of his research, he started seeing references to his family as “United Empire Loyalists.” 

What did this mean both in American history and in his own family? Continued research revealed that his family were not the only Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley — there were many.  He discovered that many Canadian descendants of Palatine Loyalists do not know about their German ancestry because their Loyalist ancestors were one or two generations removed from their original ancestor’s immigration from Germany. 

This presentation highlights the persistent cross-border connections between Ontario and New York State, and reminds us that our long-buried roots are often more diverse than we realize. 

The NEW MyHeritage SuperSearch: Discover Your Missing Relatives and Their History – Daniel Horowitz 

Applying technology tools to digitize and publish searchable indexes on Internet, made possible for people all over the world to look for particular pieces of information. Technologies like OCR made easier to even find this information on non-structured articles. 

But all this is not enough. The problem resides on how people will have easy and fast access to all these vast sources of information. The solution is a one-stop place to search and find the relevant information. 

The new and improved MyHeritage SuperSearch, looks across more than 10 billion historical records to provide the most extensive genealogy searches available on the Internet. Hundreds of new genealogy databases are continuously updated. Even if you’ve tried it before, visit again as you’re likely to find more results. 

You can enter the last name you are researching or a combination of a first name and last name, and the renovated hi-tech algorithms will cover the exact or similar spelling and phonetic variations, understand nicknames, handle synonyms and deal with ethnic variations and translation in more than 42 languages. This search engine is particularly useful if you are researching a rare last name, or an uncommon combination of a first name and last name. 

The new design and functionalities will make the job of finding the information of your ancestors a real pleasure. 

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Photographing Gravestones – Dave Hook 

Cemetery photos can often yield information that can’t be found in other records, and in the event of a damaged or worn gravestone, a photo might be the only evidence that survives. But if you think taking good gravestone photos is simple and straightforward, think again. Whether you are using your phone or a DLSR camera, there is a lot more that you could be doing to improve your cemetery photos and get the most out of them – and this session will cover it all! Topics to be covered will include: 

  • The best times of day and conditions for taking photos
  • What you can do at the cemetery to get better photos
  • Thebest camera settings to use 
  • Adjustments youshould make afterwards 
  • Getting the most out of cemetery photo posting sites,such as FindA Grave 
Treasures in the Miscellaneous Collection – Linda Corupe 

Despite the many online finding aids and indexes available on the website of the Archives of Ontario, there is one large collection for which, as yet, no digitized inventory listing can be found in their database. That is the Miscellaneous Collection, which is described as an accumulation of documents assembled over a period of many years, containing such items as letters, deeds, bonds, lists, warrants, invitations, etc. This lecture will explain to researchers how to access a chronological listing of these items, and how to turn that listing into a searchable electronic document. The items which will then become available are widely varied and fascinating. For example, there are indentures of apprenticeship, the original articles of capitulation of Fort Detroit in 1812, militia commissions and discharges, copies of letters written by Lord Selkirk to his wife, a notice to settlers and emigrants from the United Kingdom dated 1830, plans for the new Town of Paris, and an 1835 settlers list from Caledon Township, just to name a very few. The ability to add this important collection to the list of sources which a genealogist can mine will add to the success of his or her research. 

A Sense of Place and Time – Putting Your Ancestors in Context – Dave Obee 

Charts alone don’t tell the stories of your ancestors; to produce meaningful research, you need to understand the local geography and history in the areas where they lived. Your ancestors were affected by local events, after all — they were not living in isolation. This talk explains why certain information is valuable in building the stories of your families, and how to locate it. It includes examples based on Dave’s own research. 

PERSI Across the Generations – Jen Baldwin 

PERSI is an outstanding resource and we can utilize it for every generation on our family tree. Learn the basics of PERSI and application of powerful filters to find the context of your ancestor’s lifespan. 

Our Online Genetic Footprint: DNA Databases – Mags Gaulden 

DNA testing has become a crucial addition to the genealogists’ toolbox. Through their use we have all been breaking down long-standing brick walls and answering long whispered questions about our family secrets. But at what cost? We will explore current DNA databases and discuss how they are used, answer questions about the ethics surrounding their use and discuss ways of attempting to protect our online genetic presence. 

Hamilton Roots: Tracing your Tree at the Public Library – Kaye Prince-Hollenberg 

Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives holds a wonderful array of local history material, available both in print and online, including cemetery and funeral home transcripts, city directories, vital statistics records, hundreds of scrapbooks full of local newspaper clippings, photographs, and so much more.  We also offer a monthly genealogy club and services that allow researchers to get one-on-one help including an Ask a Genealogist program.  Join us to discover more about the genealogically significant local materials we have and the role that public libraries can play in family research. 

From Grandmother to First European Land Owner of Canada – Lianne Kruger 

In the 1980s, Lianne’s grandmother gave her the names of her parents, their wedding date and the names of her 15 siblings. Using that information, Lianne researched from the early 1900s in Northwest Ontario back to the first European landowner in Canada. In this session, Lianne will explain each step she took along the way, how she conducted her research originally, and how this type of research is accomplished much more easily with today’s technology and internet. 

Breaking Down Brick Walls with Facebook – Lynn Palermo 

Facebook has become a favourite resource among genealogical researchers. If you’re not using Facebook, then you’re missing out. This presentation will introduce attendees to this social media platform as a genealogy tool and will guide participants through how to benefit from its over one billion users. Learn to tap into the power of Facebook in moving your family history research forward. 

A Little Technology Goes a Long Way – Kae Elgie 

Building on her mother’s genealogical research, supplemented by archaeological artifacts discovered by her father and brothers on the farm, deeds written on vellum, two-hundred-year-old land registry records, her grandparents’ love letters and detailed financial records, Kae constructed a fascinating tale of the various peoples and many families who lived on this land. 

Keeping track of all her research was a formidable task. Fortunately, as a professional librarianKae had many tools and techniques at her disposal. But after her retirement, her access to expensive sophisticated technology was limited.  The tools she used had to be simple and easily available.  

Her presentation will share the techniques which worked as well as the ones that did not, and why. 

Introduction to Research in Spain – Victor Corrales 

Finding your ancestral roots in Spain is both challenging and rewarding. This lecture will give an overview of the most important records (civil registration, catholic church records, census and military records) and finding aids for researching in Spain. This lecture is ideal for a beginner researcher interested in Spain. 

Dutch Research from a Distance: Tools You Can Use – Sue DeGroot 

This lecture will provide information and tools that can be found close to home for researching Dutch ancestors. Included in the discussion will be sources available from FamilySearch, public or university libraries and the Internet, as well as how to obtain documents. The information discussed is especially helpful to those with little or no knowledge of the Dutch language. 

What’s New in Family Tree Maker: An Interactive Discussion – Mark Olsen 

Family Tree Maker Ambassador Mark Olsen has traveled all over the world showing the latest features of Family Tree Maker and its partner products.  Mark will live demo all the newest features and take all your questions in this interactive session. 

Some of these new features include, FamilySearch Integration 2.0, TreeVault Cloud Services – where every change you make to your tree can be instantly viewed from your smart phone or tablet – Turn Back Time – Next of Kin designation – Smart Filters and more.  Come learn the latest about FTM 2019 and get all your questions answered. 

First Nations Genealogy: Sources at Library and Archives Canada – Emily Porter and Nicholas Lockhead 

Learn about resources related to First Nations genealogy held in Library and Archives Canada’s vast collection! We will cover government records as well as non-governmental sources, and look at topics such as censuses, vital statistics, estate files, and military records. 

Going Totally Offline, Almost: On-site Researching in Libraries and Archives – Alan Campbell 

This presentation looks at the value in researching offline in libraries and archives. Indexes that are unique to specific libraries and archives, such as birth/marriage/ death indexes as well as newspaper indexes will be discussed. The value in going beyond an index, especially in the case of abstracts and transcriptions will be noted. 

The presentation will also examine the following items: 

  • Doing on-line research to decide upon which repository to visit 
  • Doing on-line research, or making contact with a repository by telephone or mail, in order to make sure that the materials that you wish to see are available 
  • Making early contact with a repository in order to check its hours of operation, the costs of using it, the availability of its collection and the value of items in the collection for your research 
  • Building forms for the purpose of making efficient use of an on-site collection 

Lastly, the presentation will cover how you can build a relationship with the archivist in charge of a collection of interest to you. 

When Red Tape is a Good Thing – Linda Corupe 

Most people today regard government red tape as a necessary evil and an unpleasant task.  But that same red tape from our province’s history can open doors for genealogists.  With the advent of the Canadiana website, a wide variety of early government documents is now available to researchers in the comfort of their own homes.  One of the most interesting and useful is the collection of the Sessional papers of the governments of both the Province and Dominion of Canada.  These printed papers contain many varied reports written on the request of various departments of the government, and often detail information not available elsewhere.  An ancestor who purchased land, for example, might be found in reports of clergy reserve, school or Crown land sales.  One who either taught or attended school might be noted in lists of early district teachers and pupils. These are just a couple of examples of the types of information that can be found, and this presentation will show how to easily access and preserve such valuable information. 

From Volyhnia to Alberta: Tracing Lilge’s Original 100 – Jen Baldwin 

Rev. Andreas Lilge instigated the migration of 100 ‘German from Russia’ families from Volhynia, Russia to Alberta, Canada in the late 1800s. Their story showcases how genealogical research and historical context can come together in an intriguing – and enlightening – way. 

Tracing Forward to Find a Distant Cousin – Dave Obee 

Your distant cousins could be the key that unlocks your DNA research. Stymied in your search for these living relatives? Trying to find other descendants of your ancestors? You need to start in the past and trace forward. Researching subsequent generations can be difficult, because people leave clues regarding where they are from, but not necessarily where they are going to. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible; there are plenty of sources that will help you. Many Internet sites can help — but it pays to know which ones are essential, and which tricks to use. There is a special emphasis on identifying DNA matches 

Using eBay, Etsy, and Other Sites to Find Family History Treasures – Elizabeth O’Neal 

Your family treasures could be waiting to be found on popular online sales and auction sites like eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, and others. While many people use sites like these to find collectibles at a reasonable price, they can also be used to enhance your family history research. In this session, you will learn how to locate family heirlooms using effective search strategies, how to work with sellers, and how to make a purchase or participate in an auction. Additionally, you will learn how to as use these sites as a family history research tool… without spending a dime! 

City Directories in Canada – Dave Obee 

City and county directories can help researchers track families, fill in gaps between census enumerations, estimate marriage and death years, and understand the economy of their communities of interest. They represent one of the best resources available to us, and thousands of Canadian directories are available online for free. This session covers how to find digitized directories from across the country, when to look for offline ones, and how to make the best use of directories no matter what the source might be. 

When You’re Gone: Creating a Legacy Plan for your Genealogy Research – Lynn Palermo 

What will happen to your genealogy research once you’re gone? You’ve invested years of hard work; do you have a plan to safeguard your research for benefit of future generations? With a little forethought and planning combined with technology we’ll comprise an action plan to ensure your genealogy doesn’t end up in landfill, become lost in cyberspace or forgotten on an old computer. 

Métis Nation Genealogy: Sources at Library and Archives Canada – Emily Porter and Nicholas Lockhead 

Learn about resources related to Métis Nation genealogy held in Library and Archives Canada’s vast collection! We will look at the scrip process and related documents, including the records of the Scrip Commissions, as well as military records related to the Northwest Resistance and Red River Resistance. 

Keep Track of Every Note with Evernote – Lianne Kruger 

In this session, come learn what Evernote can do. Lianne will review the app including its menus and demonstrate how to use it on different devices. She’ll also cover everything from creating new notes, to formatting, adding check boxes, attaching a file, searching in notes, setting reminders, using tables and much, much more.  

Participants are invited to bring your laptop, phone or tablets with the app preloaded, but it is not required 

How to Include Yourself in the Family (History) Portrait – Laura Hedgecock 

Your personality, stories, and memories are an important part of the family legacy. Start connecting with your descendants now through your memories and stories. 

You will be your descendants’ ancestor. Don’t make them wonder about who you were. Learn practical ways to tell, format, and share episodes of the past, as well as how to incorporate your own stories into the family history. 

Researching Land Records in your Pajamas – Linda Corupe 

With the digitization of land records on Familysearch.org, as well as the Ontario Land Registry Access (OnLand) website, records which formerly required a visit to an archives or registry office have become available to genealogists anywhere they have access to the internet. Land records can be one of the most useful resources in tracing the ancestry of families but are often underused by researchers. This lecture will discuss how to access land records online, and how to interpret and use what can be found there. The different types of records in these collections, and the use of each will be discussed. Finding aids, which will help the genealogist to narrow down their search, and their locations will be highlighted, and examples of how land records can break down a brick wall will be included. 

Research and Share the Social Media Way – Lianne Kruger 

Social media can help you with researching your family, help and training, how to share information, and meet distant relatives in multiple platforms. 

 We will discuss the following four items for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Blogs and Instagram: 

  • Research your family 
  • Research Helps & Training 
  • Share info with others 
  • Meet distant relatives 
Reconstructing your Ancestor’s Urban Life – Jane MacNamara 

Those of us who live in big cities know that they are really a conglomeration of many changing neighbourhoods with different characters and support systems. Using mainly online records, this session, focusing on North American cities in the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, will demonstrate methods and sources to help you build a picture of your ancestor’s physical and human community—and their experience in it. 

Upper Canada Sundries – An under-used genealogical goldmine – Janice Nickerson 

Where can you find whole communities begging for mercy for convicted horse thieves, neighbours informing on one another’s treasonous activities during the Rebellion of 1837, people applying for civil service jobs, widows asking for militia pensions, and huge lists of aliens resident in Upper Canada? In the Upper Canada Sundries. Come learn about this recently digitized little-known treasure trove of genealogical and biographical information about early residents of Ontario. 

Quebec Notarial Records on Ancestry – Johanne Gervais 

This lecture will explain step-by-step how to search the Quebec notarial records collection and, if the document is not available to view, how to order the document from the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. 

I Just Can’t Get Enough of Eastern Europe – Eva Kujawa 

This presentation will examine border changes as well as the religious divisions of Eastern Europe briefly, before going more in depth with regards to Civil Registration records, and how to locate places within the various countries that make up Eastern Europe. We will cover how to locate Church Records as well as how to decipher and read the many languages and alphabets.  We will then move on to looking at migration Patterns and how to identify clusters and how one would research them. We will also be covering various sources more in depth to aim for the results we need for our research, like newspapers, land, military and other records. 

Learning about Ontario History from the Friends – Allan Mayer 

The Canadian Friends Historical Association is developing a more advanced web presence to further genealogical and academic research into Quaker settlement across Canada since 1798. After several years of volunteers diligently transcribing handwritten documents detailing the many members, visitors, and events of Quaker worship groups across the country, we are compiling these documents into a digital archive, freely accessible to all. We are particularly working on building a definitive list of Canadian Quaker names based on authoritative Quaker meeting records, such as minute books, BMD registers, and digests of removals and disownments. We plan to follow this with a secondary list of less well documented “Quakers” based on non-Quaker sources. 

Attend this session to learn about resources relevant to Ontario community history, such as meeting minutes, BMD records, letters, and diaries of visitors writing of their encounters with people across the province. You’ll also learn some Quaker history, and all about the recordkeeping, digitizing, transcribing, and sharing practices that have made these documents available. 

Tracking Down and Digitizing the Women’s Institutes Tweedsmuirs – Alyssa Gomori 

The Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO) have been producing community history books called Tweedsmuir Histories since the 1940s. Now, many decades later, these books are scattered throughout various museums, archives, libraries, community halls, and private homes. Many of these books are inaccessible due to location or their fragile nature, but they are an invaluable source of local history and genealogical information. Digitization has become a very popular trend for preservation and accessibility not only in museums, but also in many other sectors. 

Beginning in 2015, the FWIO received funding from the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) that would allow for a collaborative project to digitize many of these Tweedsmuir books as well as Women’s Institute branch minute books and other documents. These digitized documents would then be accessible on a website that is free for visitors to access. 

The project, currently in its third year of a three-year grant, involves extensive collaboration within the FWIO as an organization and among its thousands of members across the province. It also involves collaboration with various vendors including the digitization company, website creators, and book repair company. 

The end result of the project will be a website which contains as many of these documents as funding will allow. There is also an interactive component of the website where users may submit their own photographs and stories. This website will simultaneously preserve the FWIO documents and make them accessible to any user who wishes to view them. 

Navigating the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) – Johanne Gervais 

Quebec’s national library and archives (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ)) collectspreserves and disseminates the documentary heritage of Québec. The BAnQ’s website has over 20 genealogical databases and many of these databases could be queried using a single search engine. This lecture will focus on how to find these databases on the BAnQ’s website and will provide some useful tips and tricks to help discover relevant genealogical data. 

Introduction to Jewish Genealogical Research – Bill Gladstone 

An enormous number of resources are available for researching your Jewish ancestors or relatives. Bill Gladstone, noted Canadian genealogist, discusses some of the main resources available, including JewishGen and its fabulous JOWBR, JRI-Poland with more than five million indexed records, and various sites for Holocaust-related research. 

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