I will be part of a panel discussion with two other professional genealogists at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference (OGS) coming up in May. I participated last year and it was a huge success. People from the audience asked us questions and picking our brains for any genealogical knowledge that could help them with their ancestral pursuit. I enjoy this type of exchange and imparting what I know about the genealogy world. I have been doing this almost from the start of my own family history detecting. I volunteered like crazy and helped as many people as possible to figure out what records they should be perusing to find that illusive ancestor.
This year the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference will be held in Toronto starting on the 14 May and ending the 16 May. Two pre-conferences are occurring on the 13 May, which includes an excursion to local archives and libraries and one being given by the Ontario Library Association. The theme of the OGS conference is Essentials, Innovation and Delights. Some side streams include Dutch and Italian Ancestry. The panel discussion I am involved with will occur Sunday morning from 9am -10am; I am not a morning person, but I will be there as energetically as my body will allow.
We have been asked to put together what we find essential, innovative and delightful in our everyday research business. Some of my essentials include the local Family History Centre along with their website www.familysearch.org and their new prototype website were you can search millions of indexed records involving your ancestors for free. Some are not yet indexed but can still be browsed. I also need Ancestry.ca with all of its various records; the speed with which I can put a family history together is tenfold. As I have many clients, looking for ancestors in England the General Registry Office website http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content is very important in my research. Here I can order birth, marriage and death records that supply some kind of helpful information, even if the parents are not listed on a death certificate unless the deceased is a child and then the mother is not always mentioned. Noting that English marriage records neglect to include the mother of the bride or groom. No fear, as I have other ways to make the records talk to me. The PRDH at http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/ is composed of biographical files on all individuals of European ancestry who lived in the St. Lawrence Valley. Date and place of birth, marriages, and death as well as connections to family members can be found in this value database.
Other genealogical essentials I could not do without include the French Department of the North Bay Public Library with knowledgeable French Librarian Robert Boivert. If you are completely lost in your French Canadian genealogy, this man can point you in the right direction. I never underestimate his know how and am glad he lives here in North Bay. The Ontario Genealogical Society resources are plentiful and continue to grow as active volunteers contribute their time to such tasks; very indispensable for a professional genealogist. Ontario Locator at http://www.geneofun.on.ca/ontariolocator/index.html#search, along with the Index of Townships in Ontario published by the OGS and Parish and Town Guide To The Province of Quebec published by Quintin Publications are all necessities for any genealogical library. When you are trying to narrow down place names, all three tools are useful in Ontario and Quebec. Library and Archives of Canada, Archives of Ontario, inter-library loaning, Vital Records in Ontario Before 1869 by Fawne Stratford Devai and Ruth Burkholder and Brenda Dougall Merriman’s book Genealogy In Ontario are also essentials close at hand in my vast library collection.
One innovative tool I have come across for genealogical purposes is the website http://askon.ca. This website focuses on delivering real time virtual reference services for Ontario. Individuals can receive one on one attention from knowledgeable staff found in one of 23 libraries across the province. Another website called Our Ontario is very innovative as its goal is to gather references to digital information from archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, galleries and others and make it easier for uses to find this information. Canadian Gravemarkers is a spin off from the North Eastern Ontario Gravemarkers. The goal of the webmaster is to have digital images of all tombstones across Canada put online for all to access free; A lofty endeavour indeed. One other innovative website for genealogical purposes that I have come across is the Irish Family History Foundation Genealogical Sources. They have a free index, but this website is a pay per view site. However if you are struggling to find records on your Irish ancestors, this is the place to go. Updates are being added quite frequently.
Now we all love delightful things in life and one of my most delightful websites is Scotlandspeople. This website is dedicated to Scottish ancestry and supplies birth, marriage and death records, census records, wills and administrations and much more. In one night with the help from my credit card, I was able to construct both sides of my mother-in-law's Scottish family history back 12 generations. The information the Scottish puts on their records is a testament to their loyalty as a nation and to their ancestors both male and female. The SFOHG website is also very delightful with its many repertoires from Quebec and Ontario being added daily. This site narrows down dates and places as well as saving time from having to run to the library for information. Finally, the Quebec Family History Society is one group to join if you have ancestors from Quebec, especially if they did not speak French. Their online databases, for various churches, have made it easier for genealogists searching in Montreal for ancestors thought to be lost in a mound of unavailable records. To my surprise, I was able to find the marriage of a client’s great Aunt with only her first and maiden name. From this record, I could trace this Aunt’s family into recent census records. Now that was very essential, innovative and delightful for my client as well as myself.
“MAY ALL YOUR GENEALOGICAL DREAMS COME TRUE!!!”
Tammy Tipler-Priolo BASc, PLCGSThe Ancestor Investigator
is also the Ancestor Whisperer!