British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
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Saturday, September 13
Tracking Your Scottish Immigrant Ancestors   (Before BIFHSGO Education Talks)
9:00 am to 9:30 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Christine Woodcock will talk about how the Scots began their emigration to the new world — the colonies of North America — in the 1600s. Initially, this emigration entailed the New England states and the maritime provinces of Canada. Descendants of these early immigrants gradually moved west and settled other parts of both Canada and the US. In this session, you will learn about: the difference between emigration, immigration and migration; reasons for leaving Scotland; online emigration databases including covenanter indices, Jacobite rebellion ships lists, and Selkirk Settler ships lists; accessing trade directories; and resources available on GoogleBooks.
 
Visitors are invited to join us. Free admission.
 
 

Saturday, September 13
Planning your Genealogy Trip and Scottish Table  (Discovery Tables)
9:30 am to 10:00 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Christine Woodcock will be available to answer questions and provide information about Genealogy tours in Scotland and Hugh Reekie will be providing information on Scotland.
 

Saturday, September 13
Preparing for a Research Trip to Scotland  (Monthly Meeting)
10:00 am to 11:30 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Christine Woodcock will look in depth at the records in the major repositories that are only available in Scotland and that will help move you along in your research. You will get to a point in your Scottish research when you can no longer find the information you seek online. You will either be looking for records that are too new to be published online or too old to be readily found online. This is when it becomes necessary to either travel to Scotland to spend time in the archives or to hire a genealogist in Scotland to do the work for you. These include: Scotland’s People Centre, national and local archives, national and local libraries, and Scottish Genealogy Society and local family history societies. She will also discuss where to stay, planning an itinerary and discovering your own Scottish Heritage.
 
About the Speaker
Scottish-born, Canadian-raised, Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in the Scottish records. She enjoys sharing new resources to assist others in their quest to find and document their heritage. Christine is also a lecturer, author, and blogger. She is the director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland (www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca) and enjoys taking fellow Scots home to do onsite genealogy research and to discover their own Scottish heritage.
 
Visitors are invited to join us. Free admission.
 

Friday, September 19 through Sunday, September 21
20th Annual BIFHSGO Family History Conference  (Conferences)
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Learn about English family history, immigration, best resources for your research, Home Children, and genetic genealogy. Visit our Marketplace. More about our program, registration, and sponsorship in our Conference section...
 

Saturday, October 11
Assisted Emigration to Escape the Great Famine of Ireland  (Monthly Meeting)
10:00 am to 11:30 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Presented by Ann Burns, Three Terrible Choices were open to tenants on the Fitzwilliam Estate, during the Great Famine in Ireland: stay on your rented land and hope not to be evicted, go to the workhouse, or accept the landlord’s offer of assisted emigration to Canada. Not all Irish tenant farmers had these options. This is the story of the Coollattin Estate, which occupied 90,000 acres, 20% of County Wicklow. The Fitzwilliams were arguably the best of a bad lot and representative of only a few of the landlords across Ireland at that time. They were more benevolent than many. Almost all Irish families suffered untold losses from the famine even when they survived. Separation from family was often permanent. This presentation will include a review of the conditions faced either by staying or by leaving and a short film re-enacting the scenes in Ireland in the late 1840s when families chose whether to stay or to leave in search of a better life in Canada. 
 
About the Speaker
Ann Burns has been actively working on her family history since retiring about 10 years ago. The inclination had been there for several years before that. The final impetus to move genealogy research up the ‘todo’ list was finding the names of her three times great grandparents on the death certificate of their son Edward. With a stroke of luck following a query on a rootsweb mailing list, she located the townland where they lived and some records of the family in Coolross. Since then Ann has been to Ireland 6 times, mostly spent visiting with newly-discovered Byrne relatives and listening to a lot of family stories. The most moving story was found last year at the Canada Come Home Gathering at Coollattin. That is the story she is going to share during this talk.
 

Saturday, October 11 through Saturday, October 11
Irish Research  (Discovery Tables)
9:30 am to 10:00 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
James Lynn will host a table for Irish research.



Saturday, November 8
A Century Ago: War Comes to Canada  (Before BIFHSGO Education Talks)
9:00 am to 9:30 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Dr. Jonathan Vance will endeavour to take us back to the Canada of August 1914 by discussing what their country would have looked like to them and how they might have reacted to news reports as the world lurched towards war that summer. We have certain ideas when we think of the atmosphere of August 1914 – how realistic are those ideas, and are they borne out in a careful look at the evidence? What do personal accounts, newspaper reports, and images tell us about how Canadians reacted to the coming of war?
 

Saturday, November 8
Who was the Canadian Soldier and War comes to Canada - Artifacts and the History of Military Mapping  (Discovery Tables)
9:30 am to 10:00 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Dr. Jonathan Vance will show several artifacts relating to his presentations at both our monthly meeting and the Before BIFHSGO events. As well, Harold McClemons will share with us some of the maps and research he has uncovered about the history of military mapping.
 

Saturday, November 8
Who Was the Canadian Soldier?  (Monthly Meeting)
10:00 am to 11:30 am
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Dr Jonathan Vance will describe this conventional wisdom and discuss how a return to the records of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (the attestation papers filled out upon enlistment) is giving us a dramatically different picture of the nation at war. In doing so, Dr Vance will outline some of the hazards facing the researcher who uses these records. Since 1919, historians have given us a clear picture of Canada’s participation in the First World War – we know which provinces contributed the most men and women and had the highest casualty rates, and the relative participation from urban and rural areas. Or do we?
 
About the Speaker
Jonathan F. Vance is Distinguished University Professor and J.B. Smallman Chair in the Department of History at Western University, where he teaches Canadian and military history and social memory. A native of Waterdown, Ontario, he holds degrees from McMaster University, Queen’s University, and York University. He is the author of many books and articles, including Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War (1997), A Gallant Company: The True Story of “The Great Escape” (2003), and Building Canada: People and Projects that Shaped the Nation (2006). His most recent books are Unlikely Soldiers: How Two Canadians Fought the Secret War Against Nazi Occupation (2008), A History of Canadian Culture (2009), and Maple Leaf Empire: Canada, Britain and Two World Wars (2011).
 

Saturday, November 22
DNA Interest Group  (Special Interests Groups)
9:30 am to 12:00 pm
Room 226, City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa, Ontario
Members meet quarterly to share experiences, information and ideas about the use of DNA evidence in exploring family history. Attendees will be required to sign in and out at the reception desk on the ground floor.
 
Visit the DNA Information, DNA Database Sites, and Special Interest Groups page for more information.
 



Saturday, December 13
Great Moments in Genealogy with the Following Four Speakers  (Monthly Meeting)
10:00 am to 11:30 am
Henry Shelverton: A Life in Hiding
by Sandra Adams
Because Shelverton is a very rare name, Sandra expected it would be simple to find her ancestor Henry Shelverton in London census records for the 19th century. Instead, he was nowhere to be found. In fact, he proved to be so elusive that along the way she concluded in frustration that he must be hiding from her on purpose. As it turns out, Henry Shelverton really was living in hiding, but it wasn't a family historian from the 21st century that he was hiding from.
 
About the Speaker
Sandra Adams is a retired mother of two and grandmother of five who became interested in her family history about 15 years ago. As well as spending inordinate amounts of time learning about the lives of her ancestors (wherever they may be hiding), she is a volunteer at the Ottawa Family History Centre, and is carrying out a one-name study of the Shelverton surname.
 
Look Where You Step!
By Terry Findley
Terry Findley’s father-in-law, Edward Wickham (1912-1989), passed away about 10 years before Terry caught the family-history bug. So, when Terry started his genealogical journey, he did not have his father-in-law’s memory to draw upon, only the stories that he told his daughter, Terry’s wife. Edward Wickham was born in the jungle at Morawhanna, British Guiana (now Guyana), worked in Trinidad during the Second World War, and came to Canada in 1948. Researching in Guyana was challenging to say the least. Ed Wickham had a “stovepipe” ancestral chart that led back to Britain through the Reverend Horace Edward Wickham (1824-1899) and culminated with Mister Edward Wickham (1795-1879), London surgeon, born in Maidstone, Kent. Terry reckoned that he was as far back as he would get. In 2012, during a “walk-the-ground” photo-shoot in Maidstone, Terry and his wife had a “great moment” – one they wished they could have shared with Ed.
 
About the Speaker
Terry Findley, BSc, MBA, a native of Ottawa, served in the Canadian military for over 36 years, retiring in 1998. A past BIFHSGO Director of Programs & Conference, he has written and lectured extensively on basic and advanced genealogy research, photo restoration and tracing Irish roots. In 2004, his presentation, “An Irish Fling: Delightful Discoveries,” was voted the best talk by a BIFHSGO member and his Anglo-Celtic Roots’ article bearing the same title was voted the best ACR article by a BIFHSGO member. Currently, he and his wife, Tad, are working on a true labour of love – a multi-issue magazine called “Many Families.” Each issue will highlight two or three family lines, provide genealogical tips, and feature a great family story.
 
The Business About the Guns
By Brenda Turner
Find out why Brenda Turner wants to talk about GUNS. Brenda learned to shoot a 22 rifle in the basement of her parent's home in Westboro, back before it was trendy and expensive, the targets being pinned to a large tree stump which remained under the house built over it. The rifles were steadied between the metal vents of the coal-fired furnace. Brenda was about eight years old.
In digging out information about her family, many years later, Brenda discovered a copy of a document hand written years before by Beatrice Turner, a half second cousin once removed that Brenda had never heard of before, and who had died when Brenda was two. The single page described a rifle left to Beatrice's grandfather James Turner by his father, Archie Campbell Turner, who was also Brenda's 2X great grandfather.
 
About the Speaker
Brenda Turner is a retired federal government HR manager who has been researching her family history more than enthusiastically for about 15 years, and full time for the last eight. Many of the skills Brenda used in her work in interviewing, researching, investigating, writing reports and explaining decisions, has helped her enormously in her family history research. Her knowledge of the machinery of government has also helped her to locate and utilize UK based resources such as Cabinet documents at TNA, to prove, or more often debunk family oral history. Brenda's first article on Canadian genealogy was sold to a British magazine in 2002, and her enthusiasm for her family's history, and that of others, takes her to the UK annually.
 
Arthur Edwin - A Lost Brother Rediscovered
By Ian Browness
In 1985, Ian’s father received a family history bundle from his nephew in Britain. Two decades later while sourcing the family tree it had contained, Ian discovered a new relative, great granduncle Arthur Edwin Brawnis, born 1861, who had gone unmentioned. After determining Arthur had not died in infancy and knowing he was orphaned at age ten, a long search began. It would lead from Kensal New Town through the streets of London to workhouses and home child programs, a reformatory hulk moored on the Thames, near death from rotten food and H. M.’s infamous Gaol in Rockhampton, Queensland, to Arthur’s final residence and burial near Brisbane. Only near the end of his own research did Ian discover that his great grandfather had also hunted for his lost brother, but sadly had never found him. The talk will discuss the use of “last resort” sources for jumping “brick walls”.
 
About the Speaker
Ian Browness is a Carleton University graduate and a retired federal public servant who has been researching family and local history “in earnest” for about ten years. He was born in Eastview and has lived in Washington DC, various Ottawa communities, Vancouver BC and Torbay NL.  He has co-authored a book on the life of James Coristine, a poor Irish immigrant who became a Montreal fur merchant, and is co-authoring a series of pamphlets for the Historical Society of Ottawa on Charles Thornton (“C. T.”) and Sir Henry Newell Bate. His working class ancestors span the British Isles and Éire.