Branch News: 2015

  • The Recent Discovery of Capt. John W. Meyers’ Account Book
  • Northumberland County Records
  • Doors Open Quinte West 2015
  • Great Moments in Genealogy
  • Quinte Branch 35th Anniversary Celebration
  • Archaelogy: How Can We Preserve Our Heritage
  • Quinte Branch Workshop: Open Topic – Anything Goes
  • What’s New in Legacy Family Tree 8
  • At the Call of King and Country
  • Backing Up Your Genealogy Data
  • Dancing in the Sky



    The Recent Discovery of Capt. John W. Meyers’ Account Book
    Presentation by Randy Saylor
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green

    Quinte Branch held its final meeting for 2015 on Saturday, November 21 at the Council Chambers in Trenton. Our guest speaker was Randy Saylor, a member of our Branch who is a well-known genealogist and historian in his own right. Never forgetting his roots, he has developed and maintained a website dedicated to early Bay of Quinte area settlers and other interesting records, including those of his own ancestors. See his website here: 

    Presenter Randy Saylor and Peter Johnson, Past Chair

    While researching at the Archives of Ontario, Randy came across an unidentified account book dating from 1790 to 1796, showing business transactions in Sidney and Thurlow Townships. Based on his sleuthing skills, the book can be reasonably understood to have been the property of Capt. John W. Meyers. This was a very exciting find! Randy captivated the audience with the examination and findings of handwriting evidence, customer identities, occupancy and business records timelines, property records and excerpts from the William Canniff papers and various petitions, all which aimed towards the conclusion that this was indeed the account book of John W Meyers. Irrespective of any absolute and incontestable determination of definitive proof of the ownership and authorship of the account book (the audience was more than on Randy’s side as to the connection to Meyers), the significance and authenticity of this account book as a 225-year-old historical business record of Sidney and Thurlow Townships through the period of 1790-1796, in the early years following the UEL arrivals in the Bay of Quinte area, was not lost on the family historians in the audience. The insights to the ancestors named in the book and their lifestyle needs was, to the least, inspiring and a very special treat!

    It was evident from the number and variety of questions following his presentation that Randy had caught everyone’s attention, and rekindled their fascination with the history of this place we all call home, including, but not exclusive to, the life and times of Capt. John W Meyers.

      Meyers descendants: Angela (Walt) Johnson, Frank Meyers & Marjorie Meyers with Randy Saylor

    Northumberland County Records: Some Great Aids to Finding Your Quinte Ancestors!
    Presentation by Gabrielle Blaschuk
    Article by John Carew,
    Photography by Georgette Green

    Our October 17th meeting featured an expose of the genealogical resources available in Northumberland County, presented by Gabrielle Blaschuk. Prior to this very valuable lecture, Bob and Barb Dawes were presented with their well-earned Ontario Volunteer Service Award pins and certificates marking 10 continuous years of volunteer support and dedication to Quinte Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society. Well done!

    Barbara and Bob Dawes receiving their 2015 10 year Ontario Volunteer Service Awards from Chair, John Carew

    Gabrielle Blaschuk has been involved in Genealogy for over 30 years, including teaching researchers HOW to research along with doing some research for them. She holds a degree in Genealogy for Canadian Studies and Librarianship through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies (NIGS), University of Toronto. Gabrielle has given a number of workshops and presentations throughout Ontario dealing with the very basics such as starting your family tree, to the more complex and lesser known resources such as court records, government records, etc. She is also a Library Technician and has worked for over 15 years as the Local History contact for the Cobourg Public Library helping to acquire, redesign and develop a plan for the Local History Room – which is the main research facility for genealogists looking for their ancestors in Northumberland County. She was Archives Chair for 3 years before the archives became the Northumberland Archives, and has written a number of articles for various publications.

    Gabrielle Blaschuk speaking to Quinte Branch members and guests about Northumberland County Records

    In addition to speaking directly about each of the several repositories in Northumberland County, Gabrielle was kind enough to provide the audience with a two-page handout summarizing the features and subject matter of each location, along with the necessary contact information. Going the extra mile, she was also kind enough to allow us to offer the summary to our members who were not able to attend the presentation. (Download pdf file here) All in all, it was a very valuable and informative afternoon!

    Vice-Chair Terry Buttler thanking Gabrielle Blaschuk for her presentation

    Doors Open Quinte West 2015
    Open House at the Quinte Genealogy Centre / Quinte Branch OGS
    Article and photography by John Carew

    Once again, Quinte Branch participated in the Quinte West Doors Open Event on 3 October, at the Quinte Genealogy Centre in the Quinte West Public Library. Quinte Branch Council Volunteers were on hand to answer questions and assist visitors in the search for their Quinte area ancestors.

    For the most part, we were busy all day with a good number of visitors who were starting out in their respective family history journeys and were looking for a few tips on how to proceed and for a sense of what Quinte Branch had to offer. On that score, it was a good day all around: we were happy to oblige, and they went away armed with lots of advice and encouragement.

    In the midst of all this, there were three other events which we are pleased to pass along. A couple from Seattle, Washington spent the entire morning researching their Canadian roots, a planned visit to our library prior to returning to Seattle. This was the second stint for that purpose, and I suspect they will be back again. During the mid-afternoon, Eben James dropped in for a visit and to have a look at the Weaver and Mullett Genealogies, which had just arrived from Vancouver in the mail, kindly donated by Dr. William Weaver. Before leaving, Eben graciously donated a copy of the new book Senator Billy Fraser: His Life and Times, authored by Alan R Capon, and published posthumously with considerable contribution by Eben James II.

    Weaver and Mullett Genealogies

    Terry Buttler and Larry McQuoid receive book donation from Eben James II

    Great Moments in Genealogy
    Presentation by Quinte Branch
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green

    At the opening of the meeting, the Chair offered condolences to the family of the Honorable Hugh P O’Neil. Hugh passed away on Monday, 14 September in Trenton. He was an iconic community leader, a veteran MPP, 1975-1995, and a very good and respected friend and supporter of Quinte Branch. His 30 Volumes of Constituency Scrapbooks covering his 20-year career in provincial politics which he donated to us in 2008 remain a treasured and significant part of our library resources.

    Prior to beginning the afternoon program, Mary Culloden was presented with her 10 Year Volunteer Service Award Pin and Certificate.

    Mary Culloden receives her Volunteer Service Award 10 Year Pin and Certificate from John Carew (Chair)

    As advertised, our September meeting was an opportunity for members and guests of Quinte Branch to tell the stories of their ancestors, to share the frustrations and successes of research, to explain brick wall breakthroughs and other serendipitous moments which we have experienced as significant events in the pursuit of our past. While we are all naturally reluctant to tell our stories, thinking others may be more interesting, we have all had unique discoveries and those that were shared this afternoon with friends and colleagues did not disappoint.

    Lynn Heale speaking about finding her lost great-grandfather

    Larry McQuoid speaking about the McQuoid bible

      Cheryl Levy speaking about her Nova Scotia ancestors

    Topics covered through the telling of these stories included: finding the right home for previously unidentified photographs and the value of Wills in clearing up facts about family relationships (John Carew), tracing relatives through family bibles (Larry McQuoid), discovering facts about ancestors indirectly through research of military organizations which they belonged to (Cheryl Levy), discovering the whereabouts of important “lost” relatives (Lynn Heale), explanation of the connection of various local families through examination of pedigree charts (Sharon Bunn), and the labour of love and perseverance required to assemble the factual and anecdotal history of Wallbridge and its role in the evolution of Sidney Township (Alex McNaught), and the spontaneous amplification of subject matter concerning the Wallbridge and Sidney Township story (Peter Johnson). All of the above storytellers enjoyed a well-earned chance to brag a little, share a happy moment, share an emotional accomplishment; share a learning experience, announce the near completion of a book and share and add to someone else’s story. Revelation upon revelation!

    Sharon Bunn speaking about her family pedigree chart

    Alex McNaught speaking about Wallbridge

      Peter Johnson adding to the history of Wallbridge

    Topping off the afternoon’s enjoyment, Jim Harrison, Mayor of Quinte West, and his wife Jane, dropped in to hear some of the stories and to present a Certificate to Quinte Branch on the occasion of our 35th Anniversary. Mayor Harrison came prepared for the event with his own family history story which he shared with us. His grandfather, a WW1 Veteran, after returning to Canada at the end of the war, settled in Brighton and opened a store which he ran for many years. Upon his return, he was asked about the most difficult thing he had to deal with during the war, and he replied,” not enough clean dry socks”. The back-story is that sometime during his many years as the proprietor of the store in Brighton, he acquired a knitting machine which he used to manufacture grey socks that he proudly sold in his store.

    35th Anniversary Certificate from City of Quinte West presented by Mayor Jim Harrison and his wife, Jane Harrison, to John Carew (Chair), and Rodney Green (Charter Member and Past Chair of Quinte Branch)


    Quinte Branch 35th Anniversary Celebration
    June 20, 2015
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green and Susan Carew

    Cutting the Cake: John Carew (Chair), Lois Duggan (Social Hostess), Rodney Green (Charter Member and Past Chair), Susan Carew and Sharron Buttler

    The 35th anniversary has come and gone, the cake was devoured along with some much appreciated Tim’s, and now we will get on with the next 35 years.

    Larry McQuoid (Treasurer), Gerald Belanger, John Carew (Chair), Alan Campbell (President OGS) and Terry Buttler (Vice-Chair)

    So, what were we celebrating? Perhaps this: during the past 35 years, over 2600 members have joined Quinte Branch, and perhaps double that and more of non-members have asked for and got support and assistance from us in one form or another. Consequently, several thousand family trees and genealogies have been improved by and made more credible by the addition of facts and information obtained from our library holdings. In addition, over that time, more than 500 volunteer person-years of endeavour have enabled the Branch Council to develop, maintain and deliver genealogical services and support. After all, since the mission of OGS and of its many Branches is to encourage, bring together and assist those interested in the pursuit of family history, I guess you could say that we were celebrating “mission accomplished.” (Download 35th Anniversary Address here.)

    Past Chairs of Quinte Branch OGS in attendance: Richard Hughes, Rodney Green, Roy Bruce, Ann Rowe, Peter W Johnson UE and Marilyn Harry. (Carole Foshay was also in attendance, however, she was not present when this photo was taken.)

    On a more personal note, the credit for Quinte Branch getting its start in life and having a chance at being of value to community, genealogical pursuits and preservation of heritage falls squarely on the shoulders of the 26 Charter Members from 1980. It was because of their vision and courage to make it happen, and the commitment to see the fledgling organization through those difficult early years when every element of the program of services was “Priority One”, that on this 35th anniversary, we were able to honour them, deservedly so, and in effect, “have our cake and eat it too”. It was a pleasure to have 4 of the Charter Members present and be able to honour them in person: Roy and Ruth Bruce, Amy Vader, and Rodney Green.

    Charter Members in attendance: Rodney Green, Amy Vader, Ruth Bruce and Roy Bruce    

    To help us in our quest to reflect on the Branch’s accomplishments, Ann Rowe (Campbellford Seymour Heritage Society), Thelma Coulter (7th Town Historical Society), Richard Hughes (Hastings CountyHistorical Society), Peter W Johnson UE (Bay of Quinte Branch UELAC), and Rita Turtle (Quinte West Public Library) offered anecdotes, greetings and congratulations to the Branch on the occasion.

    Left to right: Ann Rowe (Campbellford Seymour Heritage Society), Thelma Coulter (7th Town Historical Society), Richard Hughes (Hastings County Historical Society), Peter W Johnson UE (Bay of Quinte Branch UELAC), and Rita Turtle (Quinte West Public Library)

    Alan Campbell, President of the Ontario Genealogical Society, offered the Branch compliments on its accomplishments and presented a 35 Year Certificate to the Branch representative, Rodney Green. A 35 Year Certificate and letter from MP Rick Norlock was also received prior to the event and was acknowledged by the Chair during the celebration. The Mayor of Quinte West, Jim Harrison, who was unable to attend as planned will be joining us at one of our fall meetings to congratulate the Branch on its milestone achievement.

    35 Year congratulations from the Ontario Genealogical Society was presented by Alan Campbell (President OGS) and accepted on behalf of Quinte Branch OGS by Rodney Green (Quinte Branch Past Chair).
    A 35 Year Certificate and letter was also received from Rick Norlock (MP, Northumberland-Q
    uinte West)

    Unveiling our “Marmora Project”
    As the finale for the afternoon before refreshments were served, the Branch announced release of the Gerald Belanger Collection Volume 1, a DVD of over 7100 newspaper clippings of BMDs and celebratory family announcements primarily, but not exclusively, centered on Hastings County and covering life spans and events from 1800 to 2013. Gerald was our special guest for the afternoon and he spoke to the assembly about his collection and the joy of seeing it preserved by Quinte Branch OGS for generations to come.
    DVD details here

    Larry McQuoid presents special guest, Gerald Belanger with the very first copy of the Gerald Belanger Collection Vol. 1 DVD

    Archaeology: How Can We Preserve Our Heritage?
    Presentation by Shannon Millar
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green

    Our presenter for our Saturday, May 16th presentation was Shannon Millar, a Trentonian and a recent graduate of Wilfred Laurier University with a degree in North American Archaeology. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Ontario and Bermuda. She volunteers at the Children’s Museum in Kitchener and hopes to continue her education in Museum Management and Curatorship.

    As a student studying North American Archaeology, questions constantly arose: why should we preserve our heritage, how should we preserve our heritage, and what is heritage exactly?

    An exploration of these questions was the focus of this presentation, with examples given from Shannon’s field school experiences on excavations in both North America and Bermuda.

    Her assignments at Fort Erie on a dig relevant to the War of 1812, and in Bermuda where the dig focus was on the merchant trade of the 17th and 18th Centuries, Shannon highlighted the links between artifacts found and identified, and the lives and lifestyles of the citizenry of the day. She also effectively employed the example of the St Thomas Anglican Church grave exhumations done in Belleville in the 1990s to show how answers could be arrived at about diseases and identity of the dead to address questions which arose when 600 burials were discovered instead of the expected 90.

    She closed her presentation with a very personalized and refreshing point of view on the need for greater community awareness and better forms of decision making about preserving heritage Vis a Vis adaptive reuse of manmade structures rather than the all-too-often overarching dollars and cents considerations for demolition versus

    Shannon Millar and Georgette Green, photographer Shannon Millar thanked by Bob Dawes, Database & IT specialist

    Bermuda archaeological site

    Quinte Branch Workshop
    Open Topic – Anything Goes
    Hosted by Quinte Branch
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green

    This workshop was held 0n May 16th from 10 am to noon at the Quinte West Public Library Multi-Purpose Room (off the lobby) as an open forum discussion. Registrants were invited to bring their laptops or other devices, and problems or questions. Bob and Barb Dawes led the discussions and provided instruction. The topics below were available for inclusion.

    Technology issues
    ~ Computers
    ~ Other computing devices
    ~ Scanning
    ~ Software
    ~ Storage
    ~ Internet

    Research issues
    ~ On-line resources
    ~ Local repositories
    ~ Strategies for success

    Genealogy Standards
    ~ Recording information
    ~ Record keeping
    ~ Publishing and sharing

    Most of the concerns tabled during this trial workshop were in the realm of software alternatives and utilization.

    At the conclusion of the session, it was the general opinion of those who participated that their time was well spent and more workshop events like this would be very welcome.   

    What’s New in Legacy Family Tree 8
    Legacy Digital Presentation by Geoff Rasmusen
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green

    On Saturday, 18 April, Quinte Branch hosted a Legacy digital presentation from the Legacy Webinar Library to help us learn about the 2014 updates and innovations in Legacy Family Tree Version 8 software.

    This session with Geoff Rasmussen was devoted to not just what is new in Legacy 8, but it also shone the light on many of the extras that are available to Legacy fans and interested family historians in the paid version of Legacy, over and above the solidly built and feature-rich free version which most of us satisfy ourselves with. The topics included Origins reports, Migration reports, Migration mapping, Instant duplicate checking, Potential problem alerts and gaps, Enhanced sourcing, Enhanced chronology view, New wall charts, Shared events, Expanded color coding, and much more.

    Frankly, for most of us caught up in the excitement of research, information gathering, tree building and the never-ending cycle of verification or refuting of our documented and undocumented findings, on the surface, many of these extra features may seem like more than is needed to make satisfactory progress in our quest for truth and understanding of our genealogy and family history. On the other hand, perhaps they should be looked at as special tools rather than extras, above and beyond the basic toolkit. In that regard, as the carpenter eventually finds a need for more than one hammer, one screwdriver and one saw blade, practical and useful additions to the family history toolbox will be appreciated by most of us, on our own schedules of conducting research, running into problems, and trying to keep track of the thousands of persons and details of their lives. When our analytical skills are being challenged, more tools can be brought to bear to help solve problems, and better understand courses of action to follow to knock down brick walls, or simply provide better visibility of the facts (forest and tree analogy) and what may or may not need refinement or resolution.

    I for one have reached that point in some areas of my research and will be testing out the “extras” in Legacy 8 going forward.

    Note: This Legacy presentation is available for viewing here. A syllabus is also available for download.

    At the Call of King and Country
    Presentation by Bill Kennedy
    Article by John Carew
    Photography by Georgette Green

    On Saturday, March 21, 2015, Quinte Branch was pleased to host Bill Kennedy as our guest speaker and to hear about Hastings County volunteers of The Great War, 1914-1918. Bill has been a volunteer with the Hastings County Historical Society for over ten years and is currently a member of its Board of Directors and chairman of the Educational Committee. He has served as editor of the Society’s newsletter “Outlook” and is a frequent contributor to that publication mainly through his articles on topics presented by guest speakers at the Historical Society’s monthly public events.

    His presentation centered on his recently published book, At the Call of King and Country. Through military documents, photographs, letters written home by frontline soldiers and Canadian Army Medical Corps nurses, and many other sources, it tells the stories of some of the hundreds of Hastings County men and women who served overseas during the First World War, many of whom never returned home.

    Bill provided us with a synopsis of two prominent Canadians, and of their roles, played in mounting the Canadian contribution to the war by Sir Sam Hughes, and the leading of Canadian troops in battle by General Sir Arthur Currie. With that in hand, he then related the personal contributions, stories and community perspective of selected Hastings County volunteers, a handful of the hundreds from our community who served and, many of whom gave their lives for King and Country.

      Terry Buttler, Vice-Chair and Bill Kennedy

    Backing Up Your Genealogy Data
    Legacy Digital Presentation by Thomas MacEntee
    Article by John Carew

    Our Quinte Branch presentation on 21 Feb was in the form of a webinar, hosted by Geoff Rasmussen and presented by Thomas MacEntee. While the premise for the lecture was the safety and security of genealogical data and files, the underlying imperative wisdom and common sense to undertake and execute a backup plan can and should be applied to virtually any important files on your home computer, financial, personal and anything you place a high value on, which if lost, would cause you grief beyond description. In all our cases, the loss of our family history treasures represents years of research, and starting over from scratch would be a monumental task. The fact is accidents and
    equipment failures happen. There is no warning. That is why anyone who values the time they spent collecting information, historical records and photographs should be backing up their files.

    MacEntee covered the subject in a logical fashion: make a backup plan, identify what you need to backup, select the right type for you, indentify a method such as CD/DVD media, external hard drives or flash drives, and consider the various online backup programs available for cloud storage. Some services are free, and some require payments and those generally yield more features and storage space. No matter what solution you chose, MacEntee highly recommends a number of best practices such as identifying all of your data, keeping to a regular schedule, automating as much as possible, and testing your backups for the purpose of recovery, if and when needed. Finally, start with current technology, and keep it up to date as time moves on. There is no point having your data caught up in outdated technology. For my part, I have dabbled with backup systems over the years, got lazy about the process, and usually needed prompting from someone to get interested again. If that sounds like your experience, perhaps we should all get back to a backup system that works for us individually, and keep at it. That’s the key. Good luck!

    More information about this Legacy webinar can be accessed here.

    At the conclusion of the presentation, Bob Dawes led a Q&A on the topic and offered an additional backup program option for consideration, SyncToy.

    Crouse-Wanamaker Lecture
    Dancing in the Sky
    Presentation by Bill Hunt
    Article by John Carew
    Photographs by Georgette Green

    The Crouse Wanamaker Lecture, held every January by Quinte Branch, is dedicated to the driving force of Gordon Crouse and Loral and Mildred Wanamaker who were instrumental in getting Quinte Branch up and running as a Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in 1980. This year, in honour of Gordon, Loral and Mildred, Quinte Branch was pleased to present a lecture by Bill Hunt as a fitting example of that spirit of commitment and vision, the Royal Flying Corps training program in Canada during World War I.

    C.W. (Bill) Hunt’s book, Dancing in the Sky, is the first complete telling of the First World War fighter-pilot training initiative established in Canada by the British in response to the terrible losses occurring in the skies over Europe in 1916. This program, which was up and running in less than six months despite enormous obstacles, launched Canada into the age of flight ahead of the United States. The results enabled the Allies to regain control of the skies and eventually win the war, but at a terrible price. Flying was in its infancy and pilot training was primitive and unpredictable.

    Bill gave us a very good overview of the British and Canadian government issues surrounding the training initiative and the achievement which resulted. Equally important, and perhaps more compelling and appreciated, was his focus on the main characters in this wartime drama, from both sides of the pond, the people who made it happen such as Sir
    Sam Hughes, and some of those who gave their lives in the process, during training and over the battlefields of Europe.

    Dancing in the Sky Bill Hunt and Larry McQuoid, Treasurer


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