Category Archives: Blog

April 13th 2015 EssexOGS Presentation Event

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Do you know your family?

Monday, April 13

at 7:00pm

Windsor Public Library, Lower Level, EssexOGS event

850 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor, Ontario N9A4M9

Join us to hear George Pitfield speak about his journey into his family history upon learning of his aboriginal ancestors. This is a free event co-ordinated by the volunteers at the Essex County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (EssexOGS – Family History Enthusiasts).

Local Student Wins Provincial Genealogy Essay Award

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Helping her grandmother document family stories led University of Windsor student Chelsea Meloche to begin looking into her family history. Writing about her experience won the LaSalle resident The Mike Brede Genealogical Essay Prize awarded by the provincial office of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS). Chelsea recently joined the Essex County Branch to learn more about family history research. The $500 prize was presented to Chelsea by Debra Honor at our public meeting on May 12th. In addition to the cash award, Chelsea’s essay will be published in an upcoming issue of the OGS quarterly journal, Families.
The Ontario Genealogical Society holds several competitions annually, including the Mike Brede Essay Prize for full time post-secondary students and the Dr Don Brearley Essay Prize for secondary school students.
We hope Chelsea will have continued success in family history research and would like encourage other young people to begin their own family history journey.???????????????????????????????

Upcoming Events

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Next Member/Public Meeting and Presentation Feb 9th, 7pm, WPL, lower level

While we don’t yet stream our meetings, we have been video recording them since March 2014 available to our members on the OGS Members Only site.

Two Great Local Area Resources

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Last night’s meeting highlighted valuable resources and information available in the Windsor-Essex area.


French family history resources were highlighted by Margaret Jeffrey from the Centre de Genealogie Pionnere du Sud-Ouest.  She mentioned they also have some Irish resources included in their Catholic Church records.


Heather Colautti from Windsor’s Community Museum presented many how-tos, dos and don’ts when it comes to taking care of family mementos.  Heather suggested The Canadian Conservation Institute website as a good resource for more information.


Preserving Family Artifacts and Documents

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DocumentsGuest speaker Heather Colautti from Windsor’s Community Museum discusses the preservation of those important family history mementos. Also, a representative from the Centre de Genealogie, Pionniere du Sud-Ouest will present an overview of their services and resources.
Monday, April 14, 7:00 pm, at the main branch of the Windsor Public Library (850 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor), lower level.
No charge! Public Welcome!

EssexOGS: September, Open Family History Meeting

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Welcome back from summer!

The EssexOGS fall monthly meetings, open to the public, start again:

Monday, September 9th, 2013 at 6:00 PM (Library on summer hours)

Topic:  COPYRIGHT and Family History Research (GENEALOGY) Copyright do’s and don’t’s and general practices for family historians

Presented by: Myra Tawfik.

Location: Windsor Public Library 850 Ouellette Ave., Windsor, lower level, at 6:00 P.M.

Hope you and your friends and family can join other individuals interested in family history!

 See the web site for details on future meetings:

The Diary of Death – A Mystery 200 Years in the Making

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Saturday September 21st
The Diary of Death – A Mystery 200 Years in the Making
A 200-year-old diary points the finger at a murderer, but the vital page is stolen before a name is revealed.  The inhabitants of this little garrison town (both past and present) will be happy to share their stories and answer questions as you investigate the murder of Dr. Smith in 1813 and uncover which present-day citizen was determined to protect their family’s reputation.  Script by local mystery author John Schlarbaum.  Advance tickets $8, available at Fort Malden NHSC, Park House Museum, GIbson Gallery, North American Black Historical Museum.  $10 at the door, Park House Museum, 214 Dalhousie Street.  This event runs from 6:30-9:30 pm and involves walking through downtown Amherstburg, rain or shine.  Recommended for ages 14+.  For information 519-736-2826 or  Proceeds to Amherstburg Museums & Galleries

Jennifer on behalf of Amherstburg Museums & Galleries  Thanks!

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) – Moving ON without PAF

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  • What is happening?

    FamilySearch will no longer offer PAF downloads or support after JULY 15, 2013.

    • Why is it happening?

      Advances in technology, strong alternatives from third parties, and the need to focus on the latest FamilySearch initiatives have diminished the need for PAF as part of the FamilySearch offering.

      • How do I move to another software program?

        It’s easy. FamilySearch recommends that you choose one of the following free, third-party products that have each been certified to work with FamilySearch and the Family Tree.

Vicki McKay UE, Leamington, ON, Canada: “Sorting Fact From Fiction… and lessons learned along the way”

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Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Ontario Genealogical Society – Essex Branch (EssexOGS) in November, Vicki Mckay provided the following summary of the talk for those individuals that were unable to attend. It is our understanding that Vicki will be speaking at future OGS events – we recommend making time to attend her excellent presentation.

The “Sorting Fact From Fiction… and lessons learned along the way” presentation given by Vicki McKay focused on reasons behind misinformation in all forms of records, the importance of gathering ALL the records, tactics for finding those records and how to assess them.

Vicki talked about how it’s important to listen and record the details of family stories, but then to search the available records for proof to substantiate the oral history. However, just as it’s important to back up family stories with facts, it is essential that we not assume that official documents contain only correct information. There are many reasons why the information that our ancestors and relatives, as well as the official documents, provide us may be less than accurate. Even multiple records may, at times, be misleading. The people providing the information may not have known the facts even if the information pertains to them, they may have chosen to provide incorrect information or they may have altered the information for a variety of reasons. For that reason, it’s valuable to dig deep and collect as many records related to each particular event in a relative’s history as can be obtained. It’s also important that you don’t make assumptions from the records, but recognize exactly what information each record does and does not provide you with. For example, early English census records document people in a household, but NOT their relationship to one another. As such, it can be easy to assume that a child in a household is the offspring of the adults in the same household. However, this is not always the case.

In finding the records, searching for surname and given name variants is extremely helpful, and often essential if you are to find the information that you are looking for. When one person can’t be located, searching for other members of the family or family groups can be the key needed to open the door to continued research. Searching for a known address can also be useful when records have been poorly recorded and/or transcribed. In addition, both narrow searches, including as much detail as possible, and wide searches (looking in larger geographic areas than you expect your family to be found in) can be valuable in moving your research forward.

Most importantly, learn to look at any record that seems close to what you are looking for, even if some of the details don’t exactly meet your expectations. More often than not, these “close” records turn out to be what you are looking for. As you assess the records that you have amassed, pay particular attention to the smallest of details – people’s ages (and based on that, when they were born), the addresses where people were living, their occupation and who they were living with, who their identified relatives were as well as who witnessed the event, where they lived and what their occupations were. Recognize that a relationship may have to be proven through linkages across multiple documents rather than directly from one record to the next. Lastly, consider keeping an “Unrelated?” file; that is a file of records that you have found, and particularly those that you paid money and ordered, but didn’t pan out. Review this file every few months and you’ll be amazed that a few of those “unrelated” individuals will begin to fit into your tree. Most of all, as you work to break down the brick walls in your research, keep an open mind and have fun!

Vicki McKay UE, Leamington, ON, Canada


1874 Census Maps of Ontario

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The Ontario Genealogical Society have posted Census Maps (circ 1874), which provides an interesting perspecive of Ontario in 1874