Friday, May 10, 2024

Durham's June 4th Hybrid Meeting - Untangling Township Papers with Jane MacNamara

Please join Durham Branch on Tuesday, June 4th @ 7:30 pm as we welcome one of our favourite speakers, Jane MacNamara. She will be joining us virtually.

Jane will be talking about “Untangling Township Records”.

Township Papers are a highly-organized series of records—resulting from the very hectic and disorganized activities of the Crown Lands Department. Consider some 72 metres of “orphaned” land-related records, often submitted or pulled from their original files because of a dispute or enquiry. Before being sent to the Archives of Ontario, these records were sorted by township and lot to make them accessible. Not quite comprehensive, but covering a large percentage of Ontario properties, these files may contain everything from warrants, location tickets, and settlement duty certificates, to assignments and transfers, explanatory notes and diagrams, letters from neighbours and other witnesses—anything that might prove ownership or occupancy and settle disputes. This session will show you how to check your ancestor’s property and neighbouring properties, understand the documentation you find and to follow the clues to untangle the full story.

Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, genealogy lecturer, instructor, and author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians. She writes about genealogy at A long-time member of OGS, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for the OGS Toronto Branch, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.

This will be a hybrid meeting. Everyone is welcome.  

In-person will be in our Branch library on the 3rd floor at Northminster United Church, 676 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON. Parking can be limited.

For virtual attendees, please pre-register at the following Zoom link:

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Durham Branch’s May 7th Meeting (hybrid) : Following the Trails of the Betts Bibles – Beth Adams


It took close to 30 years to follow the trail from a Betts family bible in Pickering to an older one in California, that led back to family roots in Colonial Connecticut.
Beth Adams got hooked on genealogy when her Aunt Charlotte took her and her mother to visit the Betts House, an old stone home that her 2x great grandfather had helped to build on Westney Rd. in Pickering.  The house was fantastic — but the family bible her cousin Myra got out to show them was the clincher! Inside that bible was a typewritten transcript of the family pages from an even older bible! And there was another house at the end of the search!

Beth Adams is teacher who retired to Pembroke after a 30-year teaching career in Toronto. She is on the Education Committee for Toronto Branch and presents frequently for OGS, BIFHSGO, and UELAC. Beth started doing family history research in her late teens and has loved "chasing dead people" ever since! She has also helped family and friends with their DNA results.

In-person will be in our Branch library on the 3rd floor at Northminster United Church, 
676 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON. Parking can be limited.

For virtual, please register at the following Zoom link:

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Durham Branch's April 2nd Meeting - "They Sure Moved Around!"

Durham Branch presents “They Sure Moved Around!” on 2 April 2024

Please join Durham Branch at 7:30 pm April 2nd for a hybrid meeting as Sher Leetooze, local author and historian, presents “They Sure Moved Around!”

Sher will be in person at Northminster United Church, 676 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON (NW corner of Simcoe Street North and Rossland Road West). Parking can be limited.

If joining online, kindly pre-register at:


Sometimes we lose our ancestors – not because they die, or we’re not doing a very good search – but because they moved away. Most of the time we don’t know why they moved, and we may never know why they moved.

Doing a recent genealogical search for a man from the US, I followed his family from Darlington Township down to Kent County and environs and in doing so blew some family myths out the window!

Ontario isn’t really all that big, so let’s look at some of the resources in other parts of the province that you can call on to dispel some of our ancestral fog!


Sher has been doing her own genealogy for over 40 years – a family’s story is never quite finished! But besides doing her own family, Sher has assisted others to follow the paper trail backward for their families. You might say enjoys the genealogical search – anybody’s genealogical search! With each new search Sher learns about new resources that should not be overlooked, or looked at again. This is what she will speak about at April’s presentation.

Everyone is welcome!


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Durham Branch’s March 5th ZOOM Meeting: The History of Camp 30 – Dr. Amy Barron

 The History of Camp 30 – Dr. Amy Barron

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 @ 7:30 pm – ZOOM only Meeting. Everyone is welcome!

How did a Bowmanville Boys Reform school end up housing top-ranking German POWs in the Second World War?  Durham Region played many parts in the overseas war effort including hosting important German officers whose one mission to get back to Germany led to many interesting escape attempts.  Life in Camp 30 had many interesting ups and downs, from local recreation activities to the “Battle of Bowmanville”.  And what will become of this important national historic site now?

Dr. Amy Barron received her PhD at the University of Toronto in the field of Mesopotamian history and archaeology, specializing on the military history of Iron Age Assyria.  She has excavated predominantly in the Middle East but has travelled widely studying the archaeology of various remote parts of the world from Peru to China.  Amy has taught archaeology, ancient history and classics at the universities of Toronto and Guelph and presently teaches museum studies in Fleming College’s post-graduate program.  She has worked in the museum world for over 30 years and loves sharing her passion for the past.

Please register at the following link:

Durham’s website has been temporarily moved to the following url:

Sunday, February 4, 2024

NEW!! Durham Region Branch's Temporary Website

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Durham Region Branch's website has not been updated for 3 months. The links still work, but we are unable to update and add our upcoming meetings!

With many thanks to Dan Delong, we have a new temporary website using our backup pages.

You will find it at:

We are currently working on streamlining our site and hope to have our new refreshed website up soon.

Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Invitation: 2026 Census of Population Dissemination Consultation

2026 Census of Population Dissemination Consultation

It is imperative that the genealogists’ point of view be heard by the government and Stats Can when they are designing the next Canadian census! 

We don’t want a repeat of the debacle that happened when StatsCan refused to release the 1906 Census of the Western Provinces in 1998 and by implication all future releases as well. It took a court challenge and an intensive letter writing campaign, as well as the hard work of Senator Lorna Milne to get it released in Jan. 2003.

Instead we got an unsatisfactory compromise where people can opt-in to having their information released 92 years later. Of course, many people leave that question blank, because they really don’t know the implications. Their information will never be released, so there will be huge gaps in family information when the 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021 censuses are released. It will be a sad day for future genealogists, demographers and historians; our grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

Use the link above to make our views known. You have until March 31st!

It took me about 7 minutes to fill this out. Unfortunately there wasn’t a comment field. 

Nancy Trimble, Durham Branch Chair

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Durham Branch’s February 6th Meeting with Dave Obee - "Between Friends / Entre Amis: Cousins Across the Border"

Please join Durham Branch on Tuesday, February 6th @ 7:30 pm as we welcome one of our favourite speakers, Dave Obee.  He will be speaking on “Between Friends / Entre Amis: Cousins Across the Border”.  This meeting will be on Zoom only [link below].

Many of us have cousins in another country, and many Canadians and Americans have family members across that long, undefended border.  This talk gives some examples of cross-border ties, along with advice on how to search in the other country.  It could be that clues in one country can help solve genealogical mysteries in the other.  And yes, DNA testing is helping us to find relatives we did not know we had.

Our presenter, Dave Obee, is a journalist and genealogical researcher who has written a dozen books and given more than 700 presentations at conferences and seminars in Canada, the United States and Australia since 1997.  He is Editor and Publisher of the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia.  
In 2012, the University of Victoria presented Dave with an honourary doctorate of laws for his work as a journalist, historian and genealogist.  He has received several other national and provincial awards. Read more about Dave. 
Dave also runs CanGenealogy, a link site that is selective and sorted for ease of use, and, a website dedicated to the old German colonies in the northwest corner of Ukraine.

Everyone is welcome.  Kindly pre-register at the following link: