OGS Conference Day 3-5

So much to learn!

Day 3 – Lectures Pt.1

The Opening Keynote Lecture was delivered by Danielle Manning from the Archives of Ontario, where she talked about their special Exhibit ‘Family Ties’ about four different families living in Ontario at the time of Confederation.

D. Joshua Taylor spoke about the movement of families along the border of New York and Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. The shifts of the borders between the countries, and even between the New England states were very dynamic creating varying government districts in which to consider when seeking resources. This was best shown with the state of Vermont shifting territorial claims during that time period its.

Dr. Blaine Bettinger gave a fantastic talk about the Future of Genetic Genealogy. There is already so much happening now in this field, that the future as he predicts certainly looks exciting in terms of Ancestral Reconstruction using DNA sharing among descendants.

Linda Reid gave a very concise lecture using her family as case studies to illustrate how Genetic Genealogists can trace their families back to the 18th century (Scotland) with Autosomal DNA. It was complex, but very well done and the information is incredibly useful to understand how to apply DNA as a tool alongside the paper research.

The Banquet was fabulous with another lecture from Joshua Taylor about “Family History in Prime Time” which was entertaining with all the fun pop-culture pedigrees presented – from Disney characters to The Simpsons, and Star Wars Families.

Day 4 – Lectures Pt.2

I started the day with Marian Press explaining how to properly use ‘Search’ while mining databases. – Incredibly useful, I picked up a lot more tips, hopefully now I’ll find more results. And I’ll read the HELP page instructing proper search functions for particular databases. 😉

Kathryn Lake Hogan’s lecture was packed full of information on just how many resources there really are – if you know where to find them – to research United Empire Loyalist era ancestors. So many places to check out!

Joshua Taylor spoke this time about 19th & 20th century Border crossing between US and Canada. So many more places to check out!

Dr. Blaine Bettinger’s lecture was about solving 18th & 19th Century mysteries using DNA. It was similar in nature to the lecture Linda Reid gave, but there was much more focus of the science involved to explain how the DNA connects relatives.

The Final Keynote Lecture was Joshua Taylor’s talk about what the Future holds for genealogists.

The OGS 2017 Conference was wrapped up with many ‘Thank Yous’ and door prizes and –

 The Grand Announcement : OGS Conference 2018 in Guelph Ontario at Guelph University Campus.

 

Day 5 – “Using Ancestry Day”

All about using Ancestry and AncestryDNA.

 

Wrap-up:

The Title of the Conference was “Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation 2017”.

This was my first Genealogical conference. I met a lot of people, and during the “First Timers” gathering, I saw a large room full of other people sharing the experience right along with me. I met people who’ve been attending OGS conferences for a few years, and I also met a few people how have been going for decades. Everyone I spoke to was warm and welcoming and happy to be at the event.  It was interesting to see all of the major Genealogy related companies well represented and fully engaged with conference attendees.

I went to as many lectures as I could – every time slot available (I’ll probably be sleeping most of Tuesday away!). And yet, for the workshops – there were 6 concurrent topics being taught in the morning, and again in the afternoon. For every lecture hour scheduled, there were 3 other topics going on at the same time. Hermione’s Time Turner would have been awesome! My head is spinning with all that I’ve learned over the 3 days of workshops and lectures, and yet, there is still so much that I missed.

Maybe next year? I hope so!

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OGS Conference 2017 Day 2

OGS Conference 2017 – Day 2 – Workshop Day!

The morning was spent with Jane E. MacNamara Think Like a Genealogist: Creative Research Techniques to Help You Follow the Right Ancestral Trail”. Jane went through some trial documents to show us how to make the best out of each piece of information on varying types of documents from Passenger Lists, Church Transfer Papers, Collections of manuscripts and Death Certificates. The intention was to think about other resources any small piece of extra information gleaned could be used to find a new research avenue. Not just to find new resources, but think more deeply about each resource.

We spent the afternoon with Kirsty Gray Using Family Reconstruction to Break Down Brick Walls”. While she’s a lot of fun, she’s also a tough teacher encouraging attendees to start thinking hard on research goals and get cracking! She was all about really digging into detail and filling out as many of the siblings branches as possible to create a richer family community in order to broaden parameters. Kirsty also had us analyzing documents in order to ask questions to determine potential resources to refer to in order to collect all the details possible. She also talked about varying levels of Reconstruction – how deep and broad to research. And then of course, Organization, and reaching out for Help.

After that was a “First Timers” gathering where I got to add another ribbon to what is now starting to look like a small collection. (I haven’t gathered nearly as many as some other crazy ribbon people I’ve seen!  ;P )

And then Opening Ceremonies with some words from Dr G. Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and Keynote Lecturer Journalist Dave Obee.

Dr. Berthiaume spoke about all the current projects in the works at LAC, and all the new ones soon to come. So much work has gone into the digitization of the WWI CEF records being copied and uploaded for all Canadians to access.  There are plans to carry on the digitization of resources and incorporate co-operative scan projects with the public using applications that LAC is developing for that purpose, which generated a lot of excitement from the full theatre.  His understanding of the importance of Family History Research to Citizen Genealogists, and passion to connect people to those resources and tools was wonderfully acknowledge by Mr. Dave Obee.

Mr. Obee spoke at length on the topic of Immigration. With acknowledgment to our presence at Algonquin college on traditional First Nations lands, considering, briefly immigration from the perspective of those experiencing the newcomers. He shared his own family’s experiences emigrating from various other places into Canada. Their stories, their dire hardships, and their points of view about being in Canada. “Push and Pull”. He reminded all of us, that as Genealogists, we, probably more than anyone else, should be fully aware of what immigration Means. There are events and forces and reasons behind every family leaving their homeland for another. We need to acknowledge how those events continue to cascade. History doesn’t stop at the Immigrant with a straight line through descendants, but instead, ripples. Suffice it to say, Mr. Obee delivered a powerful lecture that was broadly appreciated.

OGS Conference 2017 – Day 1

BIFHSGO “British Pub Night” ! in The Observatory at Algonquin College.

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I settled in with a Somersby Cider, watched the slide show of beautiful member-submitted photographs of British locations (I REALLY want to go to Scara Brae now!) and listened to a lovely opening song by BIFHSGO President Barbara Tose.

“Hibernia”, a beautiful vocal and harp duo played the first half of the evening, and they were lovely.  I met a few friendly people who introduced themselves, and we had draws and trivia.

I did terribly at the trivia, but it was fun 🙂  The second half of the night, “Mooncoin” , a guitar, fiddle and drum trio played.  They were very enjoyable with a great sense of humour 😉  My foot may have been tapping through most of their sets.

By the end of the evening, this happened:

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I won the *Big Prize* of the night!  I was SO excited!  I may have squeaked, I’m really not sure.  I’m not even sure if I was supposed to hand in my ticket, even though I made sure to present it as ‘proof’ that I belonged to that number.  Did I mention, I was excited?

We ended the evening with a closing song from BIFHSGO President Barbara Tose, and it was lovely!

Thanks #BIFHSGO and #OGSConf2017 and #AncestryDNA , it was a fun evening and I’m really looking forward to the next 4 days!

 

 

 

OGS Conference 2017

I’m super excited about this week’s events – The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) Annual Conference , held this year at Algonquin College in Ottawa Ontario!

This will be my first year attending, and there’s so much going on, I’m sure I’m going to be in pure genealogy overload. I’ll try not to explode!

For me, conference will be starting off the evening of Thursday June 15th with “British Pub Night” (SOLD OUT) hosted by The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO). There are some events scheduled earlier in the day – Research Excursions to Library and Archives Canada (SOLD OUT), The Canadian War Museum, The Ottawa Public Library and The City of Ottawa Archives.

Friday will be Workshop Day – there are loads of them offered! 6 concurrent workshops in the morning, and in the afternoon. I’m looking forward to “Think like a Genealogist: Creative Research Techniques to Help You Follow the Right Ancestral Trail” with Jane E. MacNamara, in the morning. And then after lunch, I’ll be at “Using Family Reconstruction to Break Down Brick Walls” with Kirsty Gray.

After the workshops are finished, there is a “First Timer Gathering”, and then OGS Board/Branch meetings. After dinner, Opening Ceremonies and Keynote Lecturer Dave Obee followed by Reception.

Saturday & Sunday – I look forward to lectures given by D. Joshua Taylor MA, Dr. Blaine Bettinger, Linda L. Reid, Linda Corupe UE, Kathryn Lake Hogan UE.  Saturday evening there will be a Banquet with guest speaker D. Joshua Taylor MA, MLS.  Closing Ceremonies are Sunday afternoon.

Monday, 19th June is “Using Ancestry Day” – All day, all things Ancestry 🙂

The Market Place will be open to the public for the duration of the Conference – please come and check it out!

 

Genealogy Guys – Podcast

These two charming guys really know their stuff!

The Genealogy Guys   podcast run by Drew Smith and George G. Morgan has been on the air since 2005 and still going strong with their additional podcast the “Genealogy Connect” interview format show.  They’re both prolific Podcasters, Speakers, Researchers, and Writers.  They’re definitely a ‘Go-To’ for all things Genealogy and are available on multiple listening platforms.

For enjoyable genealogy podcasting, these two are worth spending time with.  I have been listening to them for a few years now, and pretty much every episode offers some useful tidbit of information.  These episodes have reviews of  books or technology, updates on various source repository news and listener mail.

I sent in a query in which they provided very helpful information regarding researching family in Hong Kong back on April 5, 2015 Episode # 286 .  I was very pleased to have George answer my questions so thoroughly and most of the sources he talked about are listed in the show notes.

This information is still relevant now, because shortly after the airing of the podcast, my Father-in-law (who’s family I was querying about) passed away.  I’m only now gearing up to resume researching that part of our family, and George’s on-air response and show note links are my first stop!

I’ve really learned a lot from listening to their show – Thanks Guys!

 

 

 

CONWAY, James 1815-1875

Why am I writing about a long-dead guy called James Conway? Because he was one of my direct ancestors that has eluded tracking for many, many years.

Why am I excited to talk about him?  Because I have been doing genealogical research for almost 25 years, and over those many years, have tried time and again to expand on my knowledge base of this individual.

And then recently, I spent two grueling days (not grueling, as in -suffering in the desert for weeks with no water or wifi – kind of grueling, although, sometimes it felt that way…) bouncing from website to website doing genealogical gymnastics in order to find a death record for James Conway.  The ‘Right’ death record, because James Conways – there are many. Many.

I recently joined BIFHSGO    (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa), from which I was able to obtain access to some archived conference videos.  In particular for this blog post, I listened to quite a few presentations given by Maurice Gleeson, who frequently attends Genetic Genealogy Ireland Conferences.  He gave a lot of great talks on DNA testing and how to use it for Genealogy.

Despite the fact that Ireland is notoriously difficult to research (almost as difficult as ( Newfoundland), his talks gave me hope that I can probably find ‘something’.  He suggested that Irish researchers try IrishGenealogy.ie   because a lot of records are available for viewing at ‘no cost’.  ‘No cost’ is great, because when you’re searching across many sites that aren’t free, credits/fees get unruly and costly.  And I will tell you, that website was incredibly helpful and my husband has been trying to pry me out of it since I discovered it.  Within it, I’ve also found records for my other family branches in Ireland.

So with my consortium of websites, new hope, and using the FAN (Family-Aquaintances-Neighbours) approach I achieved victory.

Websites:  IrishGenealogy  ,  FamilySearch  ,  ScotlandsPeople  ,  FindMyPast  ,  National Archives of Ireland  ,  GRONI (General Record Office Northern Ireland) / (Northern Ireland Direct)  ,  EmeraldAncestors  ,  Belfast City Council  .

Different records can be found across different resources, but many also have the same records.  For instance, Family Search (FS) is always my first place to go when I begin a research session because it has new content being uploaded all the time.  It is also my primary resource because its contents are free and the search engine if very useful.  For the time period I was searching, in most databases the vital records for Ireland are available in Index format, which is a great start.  Some website search engines offer varying degree of information viewable, which is why it’s good to search more than one site when possible.  They’ll likely duplicate one another, but sometimes they’re complementary too.

I actually went into IrishGenealogy (IG) trying to find a marriage record for James Conway and his wife Sarah Kirk.  I had no idea if they were married in Ireland or in Scotland.  Scotland?  I thought you said you  were searching  in Ireland??    Haha!  Yes, yes I did, BUT, as I’ve discovered over the years, during the 19th century people hopped the Irish Sea as frequently (and without paper trails) as people crossed the Canada-US border during the same time period.

From past research stints, I gathered that James Conway and his wife Sarah Kirk (as per their children’s’ BDM records)  were living:

  • 1841 Scotland Census – East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • 1845 Scotland – Christening of daughter Mary (b.1843 Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire)
  • 1851 Scotland Census – Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • 1863 – Ireland – Marriage of daughter Mary (Belfast, 1st husband)
  • 1868 – Ireland – Street Directory  [LennonWylie]
  • 1868 – Ireland – Marriage of son John (Belfast)
  • 1869 – Ireland – Marriage of daughter Mary (Belfast, 2nd husband)

The census records both indicate the James and Sarah were born in Ireland, but I wasn’t sure if they were married there, or met and married in Scotland, as I’d seen often enough with other families.  I also wasn’t positive on the birthplaces of their sons (Thomas & John born ca.1838-1841)) because they weren’t consistent from census to census, and I haven’t yet been able to locate records for their births in Scotland, nor Ireland.

I was able to track information about John through the Burial records for Belfast City, which led to a death record as well as pointing toward his wife for a marriage record (1868) and some of their children, through the burial listing and the appearance of the family on the 1901 Ireland census.

From there, and still not able to find anything directly on James, I decided to try to find more information on their eldest son Thomas.  This is where IG helped crack things open.  I found  Thomas’ full death record on that site, which led to 1911 census retrieval on the NAI site.  After much index matching, I was able to find their marriage record (1872).

On all of the marriage records for the children, none of them had James listed as ‘deceased’ (whereas in some cases spouse fathers were).  So I figured, he was still alive by 1872 and did more searching on IG& EA to try to narrow down options and gambled that his was the 1875 entry then went to the GRONI site to look at it and was ecstatic to find that I chose the right one.  John was listed as present at time of death, the occupation was correct and the address was close to where his daughter Mary lived around that time.  It also stated that he was a widower, so that lets me know that Sarah died before he did.  I haven’t gone looking for her death record yet, but with all that I found recently, I have a lot of fleshing out to do.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to push back another generation with this family, since no parent names are listed on the death records, and as yet, I still haven’t found a marriage record for the couple.

The biggest help that I have had while searching this family – also that of Mary’s 2nd husband, is the occupation.  James Conway was a Block Printer (also sometimes listed as CALICO printer)  by trade, (way more useful than ‘labourer’) which isn’t something that I have seen a lot of  –  Mainly in those skilled families in the textile industry – especially in Renfrewshire Scotland (Glasgow region).  Think Paisley – as in the famous Paisley shawl that was very popular during the early Victorian era.

According to WikipediaWoodblock printing on textiles is the process of printing patterns on textiles, usually of linen, cotton or silk, by means of incised wooden blocks. It is the earliest, simplest and slowest of all methods of textile printing. Block printing by hand is a slow process. It is, however, capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of which are unobtainable by any other method.” 

I would also surmise that it’s a toxic occupation, as most of the men that I have come across that were  Block Printers, died young in the 50-60 age range.  However, having said that, their causes of death might also be a combination of work environment and poor living conditions.  Mary’s 2nd husband Robert and their eldest son James (my direct ancestor) were also Block Printers in Belfast.  The family lived in row housing, seeming to move every few years or so.  Both men also died young, the son having died of tuberculosis aged 32.

I mentioned them, because I’m pretty sure that Mary’s husband Robert learned the trade from her father James Conway along with her brothers, in Renfrewshire, long before she married him in Belfast.

If I could impart some of the most important aspects of genealogical research that I made use of in the discovery of the Death record of James Conway?

  • The value of Genealogy Organisations like BIFHSGO,  and knowledgable individuals like Maurice Gleeson
  • FAN technique
  • Cross-check and revisit multiple archival websites
  • Tenacity and Flexibility

While it may all seem quite convoluted, it does come together in the end.  There is so much involved in the research, revisit and cross-checking documents and websites, going back and forth in the timeline, moving between family members, jumping between countries, and cringing over subscription and credit costs…  So much excitement from the seat of my armchair, in the comfort of my living room!

 

Story Life

I love stories that explore the history of humanity through the art of writing.

All forms of story telling, from film, print, visuals – all of it.  It’s all part of who we are as human beings and our evolution and exploration of self on this beautiful planet.

Who knows if there are more of us in this Universe, but for now, this is our home and our story.

I intend this blog to be a repository of all things that represent the life of story to me.  My three main interests are Writing, History and Genealogy, which to me, all tie back to Story.