Aug 25, 2014

Genealogy Courses in Toronto

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the following family history courses in the fall of 2014:

Using Legacy Family Tree Software
Saturday, 20 September 20149 – 5 p.m.
This one-day workshop is intended for beginner and intermediate users of Legacy Family Tree software. We'll review basic techniques for using Legacy, highlight what’s new in version 8, and explain how Legacy makes it easy for you to make the best use of LDS Family Search.
Instructor: Geoff Rasmussen
Where: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Basic Genealogy and Family History
Wednesdays, 8 October to 26 November 2014, 2 – 4 pm
Are you thinking of starting your family history? Or maybe you have been working on it for a while but want to sharpen your research skills?  This course will cover the basics, including terminology, types of sources, the use of on-line resources, libraries and archives, including LDS Family History Centres, and record-keeping – to help you “think like a genealogist”.
Instructor: Jane E. MacNamara
Where: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Maps and Mapping for 21st Century Genealogists
Thursday, 6 November and Wednesdays, 12, 19 and 26 November 2014, 6:15 – 8:15 pm
This four-week course, designed for intermediate and advanced-level genealogists, explores sophisticated ways in which maps and mapping tools can contribute to family history research, analysis and writing.
Instructor: James F.S. Thomson
Where: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto 

We hope these will be of interest to your members and patrons. For program details, speaker biographies and information on how to register for these events, visit

Attached are one-page promotional posters for the workshop and courses listed above, as well as a summary of the full fall lineup for your reference. Please let me know if you would like me to mail you paper copies of any of the attached materials for display.

We're also planning a full day on Industrial England on Saturday 1 November 2014 - I'll e-mail you with further information once registration for that workshop has opened. We appreciate your support for our educational events and activities.

Best regards,

Gwyneth PearceSecretary – Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
Now on Facebook and Twitter @TOFamilyHistory

Aug 4, 2014

Jews of Barbados

Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto

The Jews of Barbados:
1627 to the Present
Presented by Eric Bowman

Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Avenue
Wednesday, September 10th
at 8 p.m.
Doors open at 7:30 pm

Eric Bowman and his wife, Penny Bowman, have been residents of the West Indian island of Barbados for 40 years.  They are dual Canadian and Barbados citizens.

Eric developed a keen interest in the history of the Jews of Barbados and subsequently became a leading authority on the Jewish presence in this beautiful Caribbean country.

About 300 Jewish people of Recife, Brazil, persecuted by the Portuguese, settled in Barbados in the 1660s. Skilled in the sugar industry, they quickly introduced the sugarcane crop and passed on their skills in cultivation and production to the Barbados land owners. With their help, Barbados went on to become one of the world's major sugar producers and one of the richest European territories in the West Indies.

Many prominent Barbadian (a.k.a. Bajans) have traced their lineage to the Sephardim who settled there almost 400 years ago.  This is a fascinating genealogical journey that should not be missed.

Call For Presenters

The Ontario Genealogical Society
Conference 2015
“Tracks through Time”
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
29-31 May 2015

Deadline: 12 September 2014
(Multiple proposals encouraged)

The Ontario Genealogical Society will host the Society's annual conference on 29-31 May 2015 at Georgian College Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada. The conference theme -- “Tracks through Time” – originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we track our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are tracking the right people from the right line. The variations on “Tracks through Time” are endless.

Aug 1, 2014

Photo Exhibit of Klezmer Musicians

Vessels of Song: Faces of New Yiddish Music
July 31 - September 3 

Portraits and candid images from Toronto-based photographer, David Kaufman, who has been documenting the Klezmer (Yiddish Music) world. 

Presented as part of the 2014 Ashkenaz Festival.

Read more about this exhibit here and see the Facebook Event page here.

Gallery Info: (416) 924-6211 x 250

Jul 30, 2014

Free Book: Children of Dolhinov

From: Barry Rubin

For decades, I wanted to research my own ancestry.  Starting with a single clue, I was able to reconstruct the entire history of my grandparents’ town.

My goal with this book is to appeal to everyone to get to know their own “pre-history.”  Today there are amazing resources available  that make what was previously impossible into something anyone with enough patience can do.

I want to share with you some of the things that brought about this project and the ways it changed me. When I was about ten years old our class was given one of those exercises of making a presentation about our genealogical roots. It made a deep impression on me.

At the time, I only began with two words: Poland and 1908 (the year of my grandparents’ arrival in America. That was it. My parents gave me no names of people or places and I had literally no relatives. But, my parents said, we hadn’t lost anyone in the Holocaust from our family. From what I’ve heard, that isn’t an atypical pattern among American Jews.

A second experience that led to this effort happened in the Paris flea market in 1963, a trip that was my bar mitzvah present. At one of the stalls, a woman who saw me gasped and started crying. She explained that I looked just like the son she had lost twenty years earlier. She held up an old photograph. She was right.

But I want to stress that this isn’t just a book about the Holocaust—which takes up a small part of the book. It is an attempt to explain how a small town interrelated with far grander events and trends in world history.


Barry, who died last year, has a lot of books offered for free here: