Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The OGS Conference June 2017 - attending virtually from afar

As a Canadian genealogist, I was keen to attend the live streaming events at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, but due to numerous reasons I wasn't able to attend in person. An opportunity to live vicariously through the livestreamed YouTube videos was a big draw for me.

Here's my review.
Leading up to the first video, I connected with the Social Media Team at the Conference (see twitter handles) for some pre-plenary chats. This was easily done by checking in with the hashtag #OGSConf2017 and refreshing my browser numerous times. The SMT were very obliging during the videos, and chats were soon flying.

@ECraighenC @GrandmasGenes @treesrch @geneaalacarte @leprchaunrabbit @TheKirstyGray @JohnDReid @tinemoros @elle_dee_see @PassionateGenea

Friday 16 June 2017
     In addition to Dr. Guy Berthiaume's (Librarian and Archivist of Canada) review from LAC, I was really, really excited to hear Dave Obee speak at the Opening Ceremonies as I have attended some of his other talks where I learned so much! (I was so excited I stayed up until 2 a.m.! This is because my time zone is ahead of Ottawa by 5 hours.)

The key things I took away from his talk were:- - -  decisions our ancestors made were life changing- - -  how do our ancestors fit in to the bigger picture- - -  **Understand the Whys**- - -  be aware of your references - Genealogist: 'my ancestors farmed in Alberta in 1850' Dave: 'No they didn't - b/c Europeans were not farming in Alberta in that time period' : ie: know and understand the history of the area you are researching- - -  It's a one-way street they [your ancestors] cannot go back, immigration is all about pushes and pulls- - -  Understand the impacts to the indigenous peoples of Canada that our ancestors' arrival created

Saturday 17 June 2017
      The timing of this video was a little easier to stay awake for and I even managed to get out to the shops beforehand.
Permission given by the photographer @treesrch and Archives of Ontario
At the end of this video Danielle Manning from the Archives of Ontario announced that the 1935 marriage registrations & 1945 death registrations for Ontario will be available via Ancestry by the end of June or early July. Exciting! The main presentation was from highlights of the exhibition Family Ties to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and Ontario's 150th birthday.

A1 – Family Ties: Exploring Genealogy through the Archives of Ontario’s Canada 150 Exhibit

BROWN family - George Brown was a leading voice in Ontario politics and involved in Confederation of Canada. At age 18 he left Scotland, (1840s) and in the 1850s was publisher of Globe newspaper now the Globe and Mail. He is known for being instrumental in constitutional reform, 'representation by population'.

A representation of social life of an upper middle class family living in Ontario. George m. Ann Nelson 1862 in Scotland. Children: Margaret (Maggie), Catherine (Oda), George Jr. (Ginney). Although married in Scotland, they made the conscious decision to have their family in Ontario. Ms. Manning's talk highlighted some of the letters between the members of the family. Maggie and Oda were among the first female graduates at the University of Toronto. Ginney eventually served as a member of the British House of Commons. George Sr. was murdered by a former employee of the Globe in 1880 and died aged 61.
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McCURDY family -  Nasa McCurdy was a slave in the United States who emigrated from Ohio to Amherstburg Ontario in 1856 and was an 'agent' involved in the underground railroad. The McCurdy family attended the Nazarene African Episcopal Methodist Church which is located on the site of the Amherst Freedom Museum. Howard McCurdy, the 2nd black member of parliament and a Member of Canada, gave this tribute to his ancestor: "My family has had a history for more than 150 years of involvement in the human-rights movement. It dates back to at least when my great-great-grandfather (Nasa McCurdy) was an agent in the Underground Railroad." [to the Windsor Star 2012]
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WOLVERTON family - This family's story of involvement with the American Civil War connects major events to the confederation in Canada. Two brothers, Alonzo and Newton joined the war efforts of the Union Army at the ages of 20 and 15 respectively. Their sister, Rose Goble helped to keep the family connected by writing to her brothers and discussing world events, family events and news of the local community. Alonzo rejoined the Union Army after the war, being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. Newton returned to Ontario where he joined the 22nd Oxford Rifles and was involved in the melee during the Fenian uprising. An interesting item on display in the exhibit is a hair wreath that is on loan from the Huron County Museum. Hair wreaths were a popular memento during this period.    Please see more about the hair wreath below re: Krista McCracken's blog. 
Note: in April 1861 the American Civil War broke out. Estimated that 40,000 men from British North American fought with the Union Army.
         Four went to the civil war by Lois E. Darroch
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Families of SHINGWAUK - centers around the dream of Chief Shingwauk 'Shingwaukonse' of the Ojibway people who wanted to create a 'Teaching Wigwam'. This work was continued by two of his sons who worked with Rev. Francis Wilson in the 1860s to raise funds to build a school. Sadly the hope of inclusivity was over run by the Residential School system which followed. The school opened with 50 students who as children were forcefully separated from their families. The school was in operation in this manner until 1970. Today, the Shingwauk Residential School Centre continues to work in the community, raising and educating the people in the ways that Chief Shingwauk would have approved of. The archives of the Shingwauk RSC provides the artifacts for the exhibition. Their mandate is Sharing, Healing and Learning and are involved in facilitating reconciliation initiatives.
Note: Indian Act 1876 (Canada)
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Krista McCracken has archived all the tweets about the opening of the exhibition 5th October 2016 on her blog. http://kristamccracken.ca/?p=987   There is a picture of the hair wreath towards the end.

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The AGM was interesting - I thought it was especially important that the amount spent on electronically delivering the ballots was revealed, as this says volumes to how easily these events can add up! I especially caught notice of the Awards - these are definitely a great promotional tool for the OGS and more history students should take advantage of the experience! https://www.ogs.on.ca/ogs_awards.php


A number of video / interviews were held at the OGS Conference by Grandma's Genes - the one I watched was WikiTree LiveCast - Live from the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, Eh?  with Leanne Cooper, WikiTree Leader Annette Cormier, Ottawa Public Library Genealogist, Romaine Honey, Kirsty Gray from Surname Society in the UK. Gail Dever's blog post about the social media events. There are a number of reviews on John D. Reid's blog, Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections, including a 'rough' transcription of Guy Berthiaume's talk. Keep your eyes peeled for other reviews.

This has been a taster of what the conference was like and is definitely proof that you can learn and participate by attending genealogy conferences virtually!  I know it would not be fair or economically viable to have the entire conference live streamed but perhaps someone will come up with the idea of a 'Go To Meeting' - especially for the separate sessions. Note to next year's organizers: I for one would be happy to pay (perhaps on pay as you go?) in order to benefit from all the 'greats' in the room! 
Be sure to stay tuned for the OGS Conference in Guelph Ontario 2018!

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