Ontario Genealogical Society  new logoDurham Region Branch of the Ontario Genealogical SocietyDurham Region Branch 2018  logo

e-mail durham@ogs.on.ca

• Please check out our Durham Region Branch Facebook Group, Durham Region Branch blog, this website or join the Ontario Ancestors Weekly for further updates.

Our general meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30p.m. (except July and August) via Zoom only or via In-person and Zoom (Hybrid)
In-Person meetings are held in the “Stephen and Lori Wood Durham Region Branch Library”, 3rd Floor, Northminster United Church, 676 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, ON, L1G 4V7 [NW corner of Simcoe St. N. and Rossland Rd. W.]
Zoom registration links are always included in the meeting publicity.
Visitors are always welcome. Come and bring a friend. (Free Admission!)

Look forward to a refresh of our website! Some features are working and some are not.

[Future Events] [Past Events]

Cemetery Transcribing Picnics
picnicWe have decided to hold a couple of cemetery picnic days, to get some of our cemeteries updated, as it has been over 30 years since the transcribing was originally done.

The first will be Hampton Union Cemetery in Clarington, 5810 Old Scugog Road in Hampton – Tuesday, June 25, 10:00 am. Rain date Wednesday, June 26. Bring your lunch and join us in this cemetery to help with this project. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes and possibly bring a clipboard and pencils, sunscreen and bug spray. As the saying goes, many hands make light work.

The second picnic will be Lakeview Cemetery in Newtonville, 4449 Hill St., Newtonville– Monday, September 30, 10:00 am. Rain date Wednesday, Oct 2. If you are willing to help, please email Janis at durhamcemeteries@ogs.on.ca or feel free to just show up that morning.

• at our Hybrid/Zoom meeting, on June 4th, 2024 •

"Untangling Township Records" – Jane MacNamara

Jane MacNamara Description: Township Papers are a highly-organized series of records—resulting from the very hectic and disorganized activities of the Crown Lands Department. Consider some 72 metres of “orphaned” land-related records, often submitted or pulled from their original files because of a dispute or enquiry. Before being sent to the Archives of Ontario, these records were sorted by township and lot to make them accessible. Not quite comprehensive, but covering a large percentage of Ontario properties, these files may contain everything from warrants, location tickets, and settlement duty certificates, to assignments and transfers, explanatory notes and diagrams, letters from neighbours and other witnesses—anything that might prove ownership or occupancy and settle disputes. This session will show you how to check your ancestor’s property and neighbouring properties, understand the documentation you find and to follow the clues to untangle the full story.

BIO: Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, genealogy lecturer, instructor, and author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians. She writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca. A long-time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for the OGS Toronto Branch, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.

A recording of Jane's presentation is now on our YouTube channel for the one month, then for one year in Members Only.


• at our Hybrid/Zoom meeting, on May 7th, 2024 •

"Following the Trails of the Betts Bibles" – Beth Adams

Beth Adams Description: It took close to 30 years to follow the trail from a Betts family bible in Pickering to an older one in California, that led back to family roots in Colonial Connecticut.

Beth Adams got hooked on genealogy when her Aunt Charlotte took her and her mother to visit the Betts House, an old stone home that her 2x great grandfather had helped to build on Westney Rd. in Pickering.  The house was fantastic — but the family bible her cousin Myra got out to show them was the clincher! Inside that bible was a typewritten transcript of the family pages from an even older bible! And there was another house at the end of the search!

Beth Adams is teacher who retired to Pembroke after a 30 year teaching career in Toronto. She is on the Education Committee for Toronto Branch and presents frequently for OGS, BIFHSGO, and UELAC. Beth started doing family history research in her late teens and has loved "chasing dead people" ever since! She has also helped family and friends with their DNA results.

Beth's presentation is now in Members Only. The business portion of this meeting is here, on our YouTube Channel.

• at our meeting, on April 2nd, 2024 •

Durham Branch presented “They Sure Moved Around!”

Sher came, in person, to Northminster United Church, 676 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON (NW corner of Simcoe Street North and Rossland Road West), bringing a selection of her many books.

Sher Leetooze Description: Sometimes we lose our ancestors – not because they die, or we’re not doing a very good search – but because they moved away. Most of the time we don’t know why they moved, and we may never know why they moved.

Doing a recent genealogical search for a man from the US, I followed his family from Darlington Township down to Kent County and environs and in doing so blew some family myths out the window!

Ontario isn’t really all that big, so let’s look at some of the resources in other parts of the province that you can call on to dispel some of our ancestral fog!

Bio: Sher has been doing her own genealogy for over 40 years – a family’s story is never quite finished! But besides doing her own family, Sher has assisted others to follow the paper trail backward for their families. You might say enjoys the genealogical search – anybody’s genealogical search! With each new search Sher learns about new resources that should not be overlooked, or looked at again. This is what she will speak about at April’s presentation.

Sher has made her presentation available in Members Only, along with a handout.

A further recording of the business portion of the meeting is on our YouTube channel.

• at our meeting, on March 5th, 2024 •

The History of Camp 30 – Dr. Amy Barron

Amy Barron camp30


How did a Bowmanville Boys Reform school end up housing top-ranking German POWs in the Second World War? Durham Region played many parts in the overseas war effort including hosting important German officers whose one mission to get back to Germany led to many interesting escape attempts. Life in Camp 30 had many interesting ups and downs, from local recreation activities to the “Battle of Bowmanville”. And what will become of this important national historic site now?

Dr. Amy Barron received her PhD at the University of Toronto in the field of Mesopotamian history and archaeology, specializing on the military history of Iron Age Assyria. She has excavated predominantly in the Middle East but has travelled widely studying the archaeology of various remote parts of the world from Peru to China. Amy has taught archaeology, ancient history and classics at the universities of Toronto and Guelph and presently teaches museum studies in Fleming College’s post-graduate program. She has worked in the museum world for over 30 years and loves sharing her passion for the past.

Durham’s website has been temporarily moved to the following url: https://timetraces.com/durhambranch/

• at our meeting on February 6th, 2024 •

Dave Obee on “Between Friends / Entre Amis: Cousins Across the Border”. Dave Obee

Many of us have cousins in another country, and many Canadians and Americans have family members across that long, undefended border. This talk gives some examples of cross-border ties, along with advice on how to search in the other country. It could be that clues in one country can help solve genealogical mysteries in the other. And yes, DNA testing is helping us to find relatives we did not know we had.

Our presenter, Dave Obee, is a journalist and genealogical researcher who has written a dozen books and given more than 700 presentations at conferences and seminars in Canada, the United States and Australia since 1997.  He is Editor and Publisher of the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia.

In 2012, the University of Victoria presented Dave with an honourary doctorate of laws for his work as a journalist, historian and genealogist. He has received several other national and provincial awards. Read more about Dave.

Dave also runs CanGenealogy, a link site that is selective and sorted for ease of use, and Volhynia.com, a website dedicated to the old German colonies in the northwest corner of Ukraine.

A recording of Dave Obie's presentation is in Members Only... Presenters.

A further recording of just the business portion of the meeting is at : https://youtu.be/BIZW4kfhexU

• at our January 2024 meeting •

Linda Corupe presented “Really and Truly the Father”. Linda Corupe book

The Really and Truly the Father series is another rich source of genealogical information. Linda Corupe really has the knack for finding unique record series at the Archives of Ontario. "Bastardy oaths", also known as oaths of affiliation, are usually dated between 1837 and 1921, reflecting the legislation in force at those times. Most of the oaths of affiliation for the province have not survived, but documentation does remain for eight districts and/or counties, including the old Newcastle District. Linda has transcribed Newcastle district for 1837 - 1849 and the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham for 1850-1861.

Linda Corupe is a well-known speaker at Ontario Ancestors' Conferences and Branches. An excellent researcher, transcriber, indexer and publisher, Linda has mined many little-known collections at the Archives of Ontario and brought them to the attention of the genealogical community.

Linda's website is at: https://lindacorupe.com/

• at our December 2023 meeting •

“Show&Tell” at Durham Branch’s December Meeting. Christmas show and tell

Come and join Durham Region Branch as we celebrate, with a hybrid meeting, our end-of-year Christmas social. For decades, our end-of-year highlight event has brought us together - in a real room - to enjoy personal family history stories, along with tasty seasonal treats, hot apple cider, and a very unstructured sharing evening. Anything can be shown: photos, medals, heirlooms, a tricky piece of research or even a plea for help! The last 2 years’ virtual events were great successes followed by wonderful sharing sessions.

The hybrid meeting drawback is that holding items up to a web camera is often not clear enough for all participants. So, please send your images to Chair Nancy Trimble ahead of time. Her email is durhamchair@ogs.on.caPlease include your name.

In-person will be in our Branch library on the 3rd floor at Northminster United Church, 676 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON (NW corner of Simcoe Street North and Rossland Road West). Parking can be limited.

Get your hot cider and treats ready! We will have a great open session afterwards.

• at our November 7th Meeting •

"DNA Clustering: Using the Leeds Method to Sort Your Matches" – Ben Dawson of “Family Tree Project”

Ben Dawson

After getting your DNA results, you were likely overwhelmed with the number of DNA matches and information presented. What should be your first steps? How do you get organized? What ancestral lines are each of the matches related to you? One of the most valuable tools that you can utilize to organize your DNA matches is called the Leeds Method. It is a systematic approach to sort your DNA matches into groups that usually result in clusters of matches that belong to each of your 4 grandparent lines. This talk explains the methodology behind the Leeds Method and how you can use it to narrow down your DNA match relationships so that when you reach out to them, you are more confident about the relationship. This will allow you to narrow your focus and limit the possible surnames involved. It also explains when the Leeds method is best applied and situations where it may not be suitable.

Ben Dawson is a life-time resident of London and has deep ancestral roots in the London & Westminster Township area as well as Huron and Bruce Counties dating back to the early 1800s. Ben took up genealogy in his 20s and has been a member of Ontario Ancestors for the last 8 years. He is currently the Co-Chair for the London & Middlesex Branch and has spoken at Ontario Ancestors branch meetings on topics such as cemetery transcription, genealogical software and genetic genealogy. Ben has been very involved in the social media side of Ontario Ancestors and helps run the Facebook page as well administrating two additional genetic genealogy Facebook groups. Ben serves as a director-at-large on the Board and several committees for the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Retired since 2006, he is a frequent speaker at family history and genealogical events, especially the OGS, with a special interest in Canada’s military history and the men and women who have served in uniform. Glenn has also been associated with television programs such as “Who Do You Think You Are?”, “Ancestors in the Attic” and “Engraved on a Nation”.

Ben also has a professional genealogy business called “Family Tree Project”. It includes a blog which offers tips, tricks, and news for the avid genealogist which can be found at www.familytreeproject.ca.

Ben's presentation and his handout are now in Member Only.

Glenn Wright

Notice is given that the Durham Branch's Annual General Meeting was held at our Nov. 7th General Meeting. If there is a position, job or project that you would like to be a part of, please contact me at durhamchair@ogs.on.ca. All volunteers are welcome and greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Nancy Trimble, Chair

• Durham Branch Virtual Social Drop-In October 26 th • New Sign-Up


Are you missing the coffee time chat from our pre-COVID meetings? Need someone to bounce some research problems off of?
Join Durham Region Branch on the 4th Thursday at 11 am each month between Oct. 26th and the end of June 2024 [except Dec. 2023].
Anything goes - need a lookup done in our library, question about DNA matches, information on sources for an area you haven't researched before. We can even talk about the weather, but genealogy is much more interesting. Bring a coffee or tea and let's chat about "everything genealogy". Everyone is welcome!
Kindly pre-register at the following Zoom link:
You only need to register once - you can use the link you receive in your e-mail over and over, so keep it in a safe place!

• at our Oct. 3rd meeting we celebrated “Canadian Women’s History Month”. Our speaker, Glenn Wright, joined via Zoom.

Glenn Wright

During the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, a small group of nurses and nuns provided medical care for the wounded and sick. It was the beginning of a tradition that would see women serve in the South African War, 1898-1902, and the First and Second World Wars. In this presentation, we will look at the history of this contribution and explore the records that we can use to document Canadian women in uniform.

Glenn Wright is one of our favourite speakers. He was born and educated in Toronto, Ontario. Following graduation from the University of Toronto, he worked as a researcher for Pierre Berton before joining the Public Archives of Canada in 1975. During his public service career that spanned more than 30 years, Glenn worked as an archivist, historical research officer and, for many years, assistant historian with the RCMP.

Retired since 2006, he is a frequent speaker at family history and genealogical events, especially the OGS, with a special interest in Canada’s military history and the men and women who have served in uniform. Glenn has also been associated with television programs such as “Who Do You Think You Are?”, “Ancestors in the Attic” and “Engraved on a Nation”.

He has published widely in family history, genealogical and historical magazines and journals. Glenn is also the author of Canadians at War, 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War I Service Records (Global Genealogy, 2010) and Controversy, Compromise and Celebration: The History of Canada’s National Flag (Historical Society of Ottawa, 2017).

Glenn has been actively involved with the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and served as the Society’s President from 2010 to 2014.

Glenn has given permission for this Zoom recording of the meeting, which includes his talk (at about the 12 minute mark) to e posted. https://youtu.be/E_nrg-LARSo

He inludes his handout in both Word and PDF formats.

• at our September 5, 2023 meeting -"Telling Family Stories in 15 Minutes a Day - Lianne Kruger of "iFamily History"

Lianne Kruger

Are you really going to write that 600-page family history? Stop kidding yourself! Join Durham Branch in September as Lianne Kruger shares how to record your family history as stories in only 15 minutes a day.

Trying to record your family stories can feel overwhelming. You might not be sure where to start, or what to record, how to record the history so that family and future generations will be interested in the stories. This session shares a variety of ways to record the history of family heirlooms as well as stories with items and short videos. Lianne Kruger is a professional genealogist and speaker specializing in Canadian records, U.S. and Canadian homesteading, video recording family history, and using technology such as Google Maps and Drive and Evernote. She has spoken for Ontario Ancestors, RootsTech, National Genealogical Society, Legacy FamilyTree Webinars and Ancestry and has published articles in many key journals.

Lianne teaches computer software courses. She also has a Bachelor degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho, which includea a Certificate & Associate Degree in Family History Research. Lianne is also a member of the Board for mitoYDNA.org, is on the Ancestry.ca advisory board and is heavily involved in many roles with the Alberta Genealogical Society.

She has a genealogy/technology related blog at iFamily History ( http://ifamilyhistory.blogspot.com/ ) where she shares the methodologies & technologies that she uses.

Lianne's talk, and her handout, have been posted in Members Only.

The business portion of this meeting is at: - https://youtu.be/ilh5_n5ppm0

• at our meeting on June 6, 2023 -"Four Proven Strategies for Overcoming Research Obstacles" - with Janice Nickerson, M.S., U.E.

Janice Nickerson

Are you stuck? Have you tried everything to solve your genealogical puzzle? Professional genealogist Janice Nickerson will share 4 proven strategies she uses every day to overcome her clients' research obstacles. These strategies apply to any family history problem, whether you're seeking living relatives or long-dead ancestors, in Whitby or Wuhan.

Professional genealogist Janice Nickerson loves a good challenge - whether it's identifying elusive ancestors, tracking disappearing descendants or telling richer family stories. Her specialties include early Ontario research, criminal justice records and fur trade history.

Janice’s website is UpperCanadaGenealogy.com

This was a hybrid meeting – both in-person and via Zoom. The business portion of the meeting is on YouTube at... https://youtu.be/PnIdd2jVk2I

In-person happens in our library, on the 3rd floor at Northminster United Church, 676 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON (NW corner of Simcoe Street North and Rossland Road West). Parking can be limited. Those requiring use of the lift need to arrange 1 day ahead of time to durhamchair@ogs.on.ca

Janice accompanied her presentation with a handout, and she has agreed to making her presentation openly available for 30 days, and for the following six months the recording will be in Members Only.


• at our May 2nd 2023 meeting -"Old Brock Township: Origin and Key Events" - with Larry Doble

Larry Doble

This presentation describes the history behind the creation of the original Brock Township in historic Ontario County and the wars, battles, and events which determined who settled there.

Larry Doble has been the chairman of the Sunderland and District Historical Society for almost 20 years. His ancestors came to Brock Township from Mayo County, Ireland in 1822 and the Doble family has been here for 7 generations. His family tree computer data base has 62,000 names and it links many of the early families who settled in Brock Township which opened up in 1818.

The business portion of this May 2 2023 meeting is on YouTube, at: https://youtu.be/FgWPbm_PF2s

The Handout provides several sites and resources related to the history of Old Brock Township.

Larry has kindly concented to our hosting his presentation, on YouTube at:https://youtu.be/e7L0_IOiv-I

• at our April 4th. 2023 meeting -"Breaking Down Brick Walls - Case Studies"

family search explore

Brick Walls - Stephen Wood

Zoom only, with a recording on YouTube of the entire meeting, here: - https://youtu.be/5GJlRXWwSMs

No idea on how to get past your brick wall? Need help cracking the case? Come to the Durham Region Branch’s April meeting and watch Stephen Wood, our Research coordinator, show how he has helped many people work on their brick walls.

Stephen Wood is a founding member of the Durham Region Branch. He has held many roles in our branch since 1982. He is the past-Chair and the current librarian, researcher and office manager for the branch. Stephen and his wife Lori have built our library catalogue which will be rolled out soon.

• at our March 2023 meeting -"Away to Canada - Barbara Dickson"

family search explore

Away to Canada - Barbara Dickson

Have you ever wondered what it was like to pioneer in Ontario pre-1850?

Come discover life in Canada during the first half of the 19th century as seen through the eyes of an English gentleman, David Cragg. A true-life account, David, born in 1769, lived through the Napoleonic wars, the death of his beloved Molly from a grand consumption, the Industrial Revolution, his immigration to Canada as a widower with eight children and the founding of Greenbank village in Reach Township (now in Durham Region). This fascinating presentation - a walk down memory lane as told through David's own writing - will intrigue and inspire Canadians, historians, and anyone who's interested in learning more about how people lived almost 200 years ago in Britain and Canada.

Barbara Dickson is a sought-after award-winning best-selling author, historian, public speaker, documentary film producer and writer who has entertained, educated, and enlightened audiences for twenty-five years. Dickson's speaking platform mirrors her passions: commemorating Canada's bomb girls, honouring the legacy of the Irish people in building Canada, challenges and triumphs of 19th century immigration life, living with multiple sclerosis, and heart transplantation in Canada.

Barbara's website can be found at https://www.barbaradickson.ca/

The business portion of this March General Meeting is on YouTube: - https://youtu.be/iOOTKARMr0g

Barbara's presentation is available in Members Only https://durhambranch.ogs.on.ca:

• at our Feb. 7th. Meeting

family search explore

Doing Family Tree Research in Your Pajamas – Ken McKinlay of “Family Tree Knots”

Date & Time: February 7th @ 7:30 pm EST via Zoom only

With the challenges resulting from the pandemic, we still have to contend with many restrictions when it comes to visiting our favourite archives and museums. Fortunately, we still have a vast array of resources available to us online with more coming out every week. In this presentation, Ken touched upon the various online resources and tools that permit us to continue researching the various branches of our family trees, all without leaving the comfort and safety of our homes.

Ken McKinlay's foray into his family tree research started with three simple family stories that he wanted to confirm or refute. He has now been researching his family tree for over 20 years and discoveries are still being made. He has given talks for branches of Ontario Ancestors, the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, and the Ottawa Public Library. Ken's talks generally focus on methodologies and providing the skills needed to help solve those brick wall problems. He has a genealogy related blog at Family Tree Knots ( https://familytreeknots.blogspot.com/ ) where he shares the methodologies that he uses in his own research.

Ken's presentation is now in the Members Only Area, along with his handout.

The business portion of the Feb 07, 2023 General Meeting is on YouTube, at: -https://youtu.be/_vvshewNig4


• at our January 3rd., 2023 meeting -"Exploring Family Search.org"

family search explore

Michele Jeannotte

The business portion of our meeting, including announcements, is recorded here... https://youtu.be/rpcu0bOqYgg

Michele demonstrated some of the key features of the free FamilySearch.org website, specifically: - how to search the records, navigate the online catalogue and browse digitized films. She also talked about some of the ‘hidden extras’ offered. This wonderful free genealogy site is a must for all genealogists.

Michele Jeannotte became interested in family history as a teenager, growing up in North Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). Discovering that her grandmother was born in Constantinople, Turkey ignited a life-long passion to find out more about her ancestors. Michele’s 24 years in various Information Technology roles (including Technical Writer) and an additional 20 years as a private tutor have given her a broad range of skills. In addition to her personal research, Michele runs a one-name study focusing on the RENTON surname. She also vlogs at “Genealogy: Ties to the Past” on YouTube.
 An 11-page pdf handout is aviable, HERE.
Michele has made this presentation, and many more, available to all on her YouTube Channel.
Genealogy: Ties to the Past - YouTube

•Durham Region Branch Drop-In & Social Hour

zoom call

Missing the social time at one of our meetings? Feeling really isolated still? Missing browsing our library books? Not sure that you want to join our meetings in-person yet?

Come and join Durham Region Branch as we host a monthly Zoom Drop-In and Social Hour!

On the 4 th Thursday at 11 a.m. ET we will be meeting on Zoom, so grab your drink and bring your comments, questions and enjoy a social hour at our drop-in.

Register here for the monthly series from January 2023 - June 2023: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpcuispzMiGNBMssF-ccCX6h30a2ojyMOT

Everyone is welcome! Our first meeting is Thursday, January 26th.

Past Speakers and Meeting Descriptions

The above link leads to a compilation of monthly meetings of the Duraham Region Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society for the years 2008 and beyond.

Thank You for visiting - the Durham Region Branch OGS.