Ontario Ancestors’ free virtual presentations this week

There’s a good collection of virtual presentations this week from Ontario Ancestors. As usual, all are open to the public and, with the exception of a two-part workshop noted at the end of this blog post, they are free.

The following times are in Eastern time.

Monday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. — Oxford County Branch
Hunting for Hidden History: How Slavery Came to the Town of York by Hilary Dawson

How do you find out about people who had no rights, rarely appear in the public record and for the most part were illiterate? Where do you look for information about the disadvantaged who did not receive direct payment for their work, and who had little control over their own lives? How can we uncover the stories of indentured servants and enslaved Africans?

Hilary Dawson will explain where she found personal papers and other manuscripts, and show how she used them to piece together the stories of the Pompadour family, Henry Prince and others who were regarded as “property” by York slaveholders like Peter Russell and William Jarvis. Register to watch online.

Tuesday, February 13, 7:00 p.m. — Essex County Branch
We Were Here: The McDougall Street Corridor by Willow Key

Though only a few traces of this once vibrant, bustling downtown Black neighbourhood remain, the community’s legacy remains strong. The story of the McDougall Street Corridor showcases this city’s rich Black history but also demonstrates the devastating impacts of city planning and urban renewal efforts on a historic neighbourhood. We Were Here offers a collection of essays, images, maps, artifacts, and documents that depict this community, and invites you to learn more about a vital chapter in Canadian history.

Willow Key will discuss Windsor’s little-known rich Black history of this historic neighbourhood. Register to watch online.

Tuesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. — Lambton County Branch
Common problems; possible solutions by Kirsty Gray

Researching into the past often feels like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes the picture is created quickly, and the pieces fall into place with consummate ease but, more often than not, there are various and numerous challenges. Do you have a stand-out name in your ancestry which should be simple to locate in the records but is not? Or maybe you have a common surname or two in your history which makes your forebear difficult to pin down with any degree of certainty? Or worse still, an individual or family who changes their surname without warning or record? Then this talk is a must as it will provide many possible solutions based on first-hand experience from over three decades of Kirsty’s world of being The People-Finding Magician. Register to watch online.

Wednesday, February 14, 1:00 p.m. — Kawartha Branch
Archives of Ontario by Emma Robinson

Emma will share information to assist with understanding the basics of archival research and how to locate and access the records in the Archives of Ontario’s collections. Register online with the Peterborough Public Library.

Saturday, February 17, 10:30 a.m. — Kingston Branch
Scotland: Genealogical & Historical Resources and Records by Amy Gilpin

If you have Scottish roots, join me for an in depth review of Scottish resources. This presentation focuses on online resources for your Scottish research, including Scotland’s People, Scotland’s Places, and Internet Archives. This presentation will be preceded by the branch’s AGM at 10:00 a.m. Register here to watch this presentation online.

Saturday, February 17, 1:00 p.m. — Ottawa Branch
Analyzing Census Records Using Spreadsheets by Tara Shymanski

Spreadsheets make analyzing census records easier. Learn to create a spreadsheet and manipulate data to reveal actual and implied information from census records. Register to watch online.

Saturday, February 17, 1:00 p.m. — Quinte Branch
What’s in a Name — A Cultural Perspective by Paula Crooks

A name is usually the first gift a child is given. It marks the beginning of the paper trail that will document the child’s life. Understanding how and why a child was named can unlock clues not only about the life of that child, but also about the lives of his or her ancestors.

This seminar presents a cross-cultural perspective of naming traditions and discusses how knowing your culture’s naming customs can help you in your genealogical research. Topics will include cultural naming traditions, family and clan names, individual and first names, traditional naming patterns, anglicization of names, nicknames, and name changes. You will also learn how to use name clues to help break down brick walls. Register to watch online.

The Toronto Branch will host the two-part course, Tips and Tricks for Reading Old Handwriting, led by Diane C. Loosle, on February 15 and 22. The fee is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

A two-part online course looking at how to solve the problems genealogists encounter when trying to read handwriting in old documents. The course will focus on handwriting in English from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The course leader will assign practice readings for the second class—yes, homework!

Once you are registered, you will have the opportunity to submit a hard-to-decipher document from your own research for expert help. Register and submit early to be considered. 

The two sessions, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time for those who can’t participate in the live Zoom sessions. Register here.

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