The Ontario Genealogical Society’s 50th Anniversary Conference

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s 50th Anniversary Conference. The conference was a buzz of activity and for me it started on the Friday morning when I presented a session called “A Brickwall Chisel: The Cluster Research Project.” There was a good turn out and that left me free for the rest of the day to attend sessions and browse the marketplace.

The marketplace was always active. Patty McGregor of Lock, Stock and Barrel sells books and ephemera. I got a small cookbook called Christmas Cookies and Candies. I am rather well known for my Christmas baking so this is a good addition to my collection. Thank you Patty.

The Archives of Ontario was well represented by Tim Sanford and Charmaine Sommerfeldt. Tim has just written a book with Patrick Richard Carstens called “Searching the Forgotten War – 1812 Canada.

The first session I attended was “Townlands, Boundaries and Barriers” by Nuala Farrell-Griffin. Nuala provided wonderful advice on working with townlands and the different boundaries within Ireland. Knowing the different jurisdictions of the townland your family originally came from in Ireland is vital to Irish research.

After lunch it was time for a little research at the Hamilton Public Library. Their Local History Archives is a great resource. You can now find a promotional film called “Portrait of a City” online. It features Hamilton as it was in the 1940s.

Jane and Kathy are always found manning the table for the Halton Peel Branch of the OGS. Kathy had gone for a walk and I stopped to chat with Jane.

The last session of the day was by Marian Press who always gives very informative lectures. This session was entitled “Wikis: Developing Genealogical Information Tools.” She inspired me to go in and create a wiki page on the Family Search Wiki. Now if I can only find the time.

In the evening I attended the Houston Lecture. This year’s presenter was Brian Gilchrist and the title was “Looking Forward by Looking Back: the changing face of genealogy and family history: 1960-2060.” His lecture was entertaining and thought provoking.

Saturday started off early with the Opening Plenary with Stephen Young speaking on “Descendancy Research: Branching Out on Your Family Tree.” After the OGS AGM the sessions started.

My first session was “Using FindMyPast.co.uk for Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors” with Paul Blake. FindMyPast was one of the sponsors of the conference. After lunch I attended “The Scots-Irish: the who, the what, the where & when” with Maggie Loughran also of FindMyPast. The last lecture of the day was another entertaining one with Nuala Farrell-Griffin called “Shhh! It’s a Secret, it’s a Locality File.” Then it was time to put my feet up before going to the Banquet where the speaker was Dick Doherty and his topic was “Serendipity: A Lighthearted Look at Genealogy.”

The next morning I presented “Maiden Aunts of the Twentieth Century: the forgotten generation of women.” This session was on the large number of women who remained single after the First World War and how they affected society, the world and your family history. I also had one of the last sessions of the day and presented “The Whys and Wherefores of Scottish Emigration” which provided some background as to why the Scots emigrated and where they went.

Then it was time for the Closing Plenary with David Obee and “Blogs, Posts, Tweets and Apps.” At the closing plenary the OGS announced a partnership with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. The first announcement was that the branches would now have the ability to hold online meetings. More items will be announced throughout the year.

The conference was a success and I am still recovering. Next years conference is being held in Kingston Ontario from June 1st to 3rd and the theme is “Borders and Bridges: 1812-2012.” See you all there.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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