Branch News: 2016



Quinte Branch November 19, 2016 Meeting
Article by John Carew
Photography by Georgette Green

Quinte Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The AGM was held to conduct elections for Executive and Committee positions for the 2017 Quinte Branch Council and to seek approval for the 2017 budget. Incumbent Council members volunteered to continue in their current positions. In addition, Angela Johnson stood for the vacant Vice Chair, Peter Johnson volunteered for the vacant Cemetery Committee position, and Allen Barr volunteered to serve on Council in a role to be announced. Following the highly successful election results, the Budget for 2017 was approved by the Branch members present.

Presentation Topic: Sacrifice of Angels
By Robyn May

Sacrifice of Angels presented by Robyn May

Robyn May was our very welcome guest speaker who introduced and launched her recently published book, Sacrifice of Angels, about WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to Canada. 39 women who gave their lives are highlighted in Robyn’s book, remembered for their valiant and professional contribution to the Allied war effort, and their service to King and County, sisters of the 3100 Canadian Nursing Sisters who served with distinction and courage during the Great War.

Agnes Florien Forneri – a local connection to the Canadian Nursing Sisters

Replete with historical highlights and details of the war, the medical units and locations where these courageous ladies tended the wounded and the dying, Robyn’s book tells of the personal lives and suffering of many of these women. Her years of thorough research and interest in this subject are much appreciated. Sacrifice of Angels is a unique and moving story worth having been told: it is a wonderful and meaningful tribute to these brave women and the Canadian Army Medical Corps of which they were a critical and special part. Those who wish to purchase a copy can do so by email, at

Bob Dawes, our second presenter, thanking Robyn May

Presentation Topic: Using Our Quinte Branch
By Bob Dawes, Quinte Branch

Our Branch Library is in the Quinte Genealogy Centre which we share with the Quinte West Public Library (QWPL) at 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton. We have enjoyed our colocation with QWPL for 10 years and the opportunity to provide a full-service family history research service to the community in cooperation with QWPL’s Research Staff. We maintain our own library assets, and our library holdings are identified with our own unique reference numbering system. Bob Dawes is our Database and IT coordinator and an integral member of the Quinte Branch Library Committee. His presentation focused on the following subjects: For the past 3 years, we have been making a concerted effort to update our library catalogue and continue in that task on a bi-annual basis, increase the amount of our library holdings which are indexed to simplify and speed up getting the right document in the hands of our library visitors to make their family history research experience more enjoyable. Presently, we have almost 1.4 million records in our Finding Aid which is accessible online and in the library. We are also trending towards digital library holdings to augment our library shelf assets. Down the road, we hope to enhance online research capability through our digital library holdings. As well, our library computers offer full internet access including access to Ancestry Library Edition.

Quinte Branch Special EventFamily History Day at Belleville Public Library
Article by John Carew

On October 29, Belleville Public Library hosted a Family History Day in partnership with Quinte Branch OGS, and with support from the Bay of Quinte Branch of UELAC and the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County. Fifty-four family historians and those interested in family history attended and, by all accounts, fully enjoyed the presentations and the opportunity to exchange ideas on research opportunities and methodology during the breaks and over lunch. The day concluded with a tour of the new Archives, courtesy of Amanda Hill.

The slate of speakers for this event included Bob Dawes, Cheryl Levy and John Carew from Quinte Branch OGS, Peter Johnson UE from Bay of Quinte Branch UELAC and Quinte Branch OGS, and Amanda HillArchivist at the Community Archives. Topics included: Genealogy 101: Starting your Family History (Bob), Starting Your Online Family Tree (John), The Loyalist’s Daughter: Early Sources (Peter), Taking Root in a New Land (Cheryl), and Using Archives for Family History (Amanda).


Many thanks to Shannon Bryan from the Belleville Public Library and our own Terry Buttler (Quinte Branch Chair) for organizing this event and keeping it on schedule throughout the day!

The word is that we’ll likely be doing this again, sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.


More War of 1812 Veterans Honoured
By Peter W. Johnson UE
Photography by Georgette Green

With the help of the Trent Port Historical Society and sponsors Roger Litwiller and Robert Wilkins, another four War of 1812 Veterans have been honoured with commemorative plaques. The location was the old cemetery at Carrying Place and the ceremony took place on October 23rd.

The Veterans so honoured included:
Abraham Chase – 1st Prince Edward County Militia
William Jay – 41st Regiment of Foot
John Stoneburgh – 1st Prince Edward County Militia
The Hon. Robert C. Wilkins – Northumberland County Militia and later Commissary Agent.

Participants in the Ceremony included the Air Force City Pipe Band, a Colour Party from the Royal Canadian Legion in Trenton, Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison, and representatives from 8 Wing, CFB Trenton and The Hastings And Prince Edward Regiment. The unveiling was done variously by Mayor Harrison, Lt. Col. Hoddinott of 8 Wing, Capt. A. Found of the Hastings And Prince Edward Regiment, and Wilkins descendant Robert Wilkins from Montreal. Several re-enactors in 1812 kit were present, including myself. Rev. Phil Hobbs handled the dedication and historian Roger Litwiller acted as MC. Afterward, the Trent Port Historical Society hosted a reception at the Old Town Hall in Trenton.

There are other Veterans buried at Carrying Place, but these four were selected because they all have standing markers, hence a known position for placing the marble commemorative plaques.

The programme to honour War of 1812 Veterans is a worthy one, and I’m pleased to have been involved directly and indirectly in eleven such projects to date.

War of 1812 Vet Ceremony at Carrying Place. Peter W. Johnson UE and Roger Litwiller

War of 1812 Vet Ceremony Carrying Place. Abraham CHASE marker
D. & S. Turrall, C. McGinnis, Peter W. Johnson UE

Quinte Branch October Meeting
Presentation Topic: Online Courses through
the National Institute for Genealogical Studies

by Cheryl Levy, PLCGS
Article by John Carew
Photography by Georgette Green

Whether amateur family historians, professional genealogists, or somewhere in between, all of us need a measure of knowledge and skills to apply to our research interests. Sources range from experiential learning, sharing and collaboration on methodology, attendance at genealogy events and speaker presentations, and formal training programs from accredited institutions. Each of these opportunities has its merits on several levels. The internet (the virtual university) affords access for everyone for a la carte learning whenever the need arises and is probably the current go-to
favorite. On the other hand, a structured program of study is not always the first choice for learning so we thought a presentation on this option was deserving of merit. The National Institute for Genealogical Studies operating out of the University of Toronto offers online educational options to assist with your potential as a researcher. A variety of individual and packaged courses offered by the NIGS enable students to develop professionalism in all aspects of genealogy research. As a recent graduate, Cheryl Levy shared the highlights of her 5-year achievement in a 40-course certificate program, reviewed what is currently offered and how we can all benefit from these valuable courses.

Cheryl’s presentation highlighted the 40 courses in her Canadian Records Certificate program of study, and provided a briefer review of each of the other certificate packages. Owing to the considerable amount of information which she passed along during her excellent presentation, I can only suggest that a visit to the NIGS website would provide the visitor with considerable insight as to the packages available by country, and the considerable variety of individual courses which could be taken in a smaller program of study to enhance knowledge in critical areas.

Thanks, Cheryl and good hunting everyone!

Terry Buttler, Chair, and Cheryl Levy, PLCGS (Webmaster/Social Media Coordinator)

Doors Open Quinte West 2016
Open House at the Quinte Genealogy Centre/ Quinte Branch OGS
Article by John Carew

We said, “Come and see what is available in our Quinte Genealogical Centre. Volunteers will be available to answer your questions.”

On Saturday, October 1st, Quinte Branch held an Open House as our part in the 2016 edition of Doors Open Quinte West. Our seven volunteers were on hand for the 
day and we were busy. The turnout was very good, and our visitors came armed with lots of questions. Through the course of the six-hour event, we covered a wide range of interests and curiosities including what the Quinte Branch library has to offer, did we have information on specific ancestors or ancestral families, how to get started, what type of software is recommended, and where to find information online. We also had a few questions on computers and ancillary equipment.

All in all, visitors and volunteers enjoyed the day, and we were encouraged by the number of local residents who were thinking of starting their family history research, and who were intent on getting off to a good start on the right path!

Doors Open Quinte West 2016

Quinte Branch September Meeting
Presentation Topic: A Place Called Wallbridge

by Alex McNaught
Article by John Carew
Photography by Cheryl Levy

Saturday afternoon brought us back to reality: summer is winding down, and Quinte Branch activity is cranking up!

Our Chair Terry Buttler offered a broad-ranging welcome, an update on our Finding Aid, and the recently announced Surname Interest List service. He also itemized our agenda for the balance of the year: Doors Open on Oct 1, Branch lecture by Cheryl Levy on Oct 15, about NIGS courses, Branch Family History Day presentation at Belleville Public Library on Oct 29, and Branch AGM and Presentation about “Using the Quinte Branch Library” on Nov 19.

Following opening remarks, the Quinte Branch Canada 150 Project was announced by John Carew with the promise of many more details to follow, and our guest speaker was introduced.









Terry Buttler, Quinte Branch Chair and John Carew, Past Chair

Alex McNaught was raised in Wallbridge, is a Quinte Branch member, and has had a full career in the education field. He has played an ongoing role in the preservation of the history and heritage of the Bay of Quinte area and has made significant contributions to the concepts of fair play and sportsmanlike behaviour in children’s sports at a national level. Following 12 years of curiosity about Wallbridge which was matched in lockstep by
12 years of research, he wrote and recently published his labour of love book entitled, A Place Called Wallbridge.

For 90 minutes, Alex provided us with the 200 year plus historical highlights of the community of Wallbridge, its prominent citizens, its colourful characters and a backwards look at the prominence which Wallbridge once enjoyed in Sidney Township politics and municipal government. A Place Called Wallbridge is an entertaining and fact-filled history of Wallbridge and a worthy candidate for your personal library.

 A Place Called Wallbridge by Alex McNaught

Ontario Volunteer Service Awards 2016
Quinte Branch OGS

Article and photography by John Carew

On the evening of June 21st 2016, the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards were presented to over 100 Quinte area volunteers at Belleville representing a broad array of volunteer and volunteer supported organizations serving our community. Their unselfish and meaningful efforts help to make life just a little better and more enjoyable for so many. Pins and Certificates were presented to each recipient, reflecting the extent and significance of their personal commitments. Four members of Quinte Branch Council were recognized this year for their years of continuous support of our organization and its goals. In appreciation of their generous contributions of time, talent and team spirit, we thank them for raising their hands and saying “I’d like to volunteer!”

Our deepest gratitude and congratulations to Peter W Johnson UEMarilyn Harry, Lois Duggan and Lewis Zandbergen!


Ontario Volunteer Service Awards 2016 for Peter W Johnson, UE, and Lois Duggan
Missing: Marilyn Harry and Lewis Zandbergen

Quinte Branch June Meeting
Presentation Topic: Great Moments in Genealogy
by Quinte Branch
Article by John Carew
Photography by Georgette Green

One of the major advantages of attending genealogy or family history get-togethers or events is the opportunity to network, share and learn about the successes, trials and tribulations of research. At Quinte Branch, we have lots of those experiences to share, and Saturday, June 18th was the perfect day to do it.

However, Great Moments come in different shapes and sizes, and we have some fine examples to prove the point.

First, during OGS Conference 2016 hosted by Toronto Branch on June 3-5, our Webmaster Cheryl Levy graduated as a member of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS), where she took online courses to earn certificates for Methodology and Canadian Records. Cheryl now has standing with the letters PLCGS after her name, which stands for “Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies.” We are all very proud of her accomplishment, and yes, she is already taking more courses through NIGS.

During the AGM on June 4, Quinte Branch was honored for the Best OGS website in 2016. The recognition is appreciated by all of us. However, the Certificate clearly acknowledges the results of year over year efforts by Tina Gemmell and Cheryl Levy to build, maintain and improve the value of our website, culminating in this 2016 award. Ladies, our top hats and fascinators are off to you!

Quinte Branch was awarded OGS Best Website for 2016.
Terry Buttler, Chair, congratulates webmasters, Cheryl Levy and Tina Gemmell

Second, prior to the meeting, Quinte Branch indicated that an important update to our online Finding Aid Database would be announced at this meeting. It has been 4 years since the last update and much has been accomplished. The Finding Aid has been expanded to include additional and larger data fields to give researchers a better and more generous indication of the context of the finding aid clues. Equally important, the database has seen the benefit of a fair bit of indexing over the past year, and consequently the number of name indexes has grown from 1.1 million to over 1.35 million. More to come yet!

Not announced prior to the meeting was the activation of our new Surname Interest List (SIL) which took effect this week. It replaces the annual list published in the December issue of our newsletter, the Quinte SearchlightBesides being an online service with a greater degree of privacy, the SIL has been expanded to include surnames from our current Quinte Branch Members, Past Members and Library visitors. It will be updated twice a year. Check out the Surname Interest List webpage on our website. Thanks to Bob Dawes for the announcements.

Finally, the personal level of Great Moments was delivered by five members of our Branch Council: Terry Buttler, Sharron Buttler, Larry McQuoid, Lynn Heale and yours truly. It covered a predictable, but very interesting range of research experiences: tracing a pedigree line back to England into the 1700s with encouraging but incomplete results, unraveling pedigree errors and omissions resulting in some surprises and exposing even more problems to solve, surprises and incomplete communication responses from new cousins south of the border, discovered through DNA testing data, new cousins and ancestors discovered in preparation for a Genealogy event later this summer, and a different kind of look at the lives of ancestors in the context of colonialism, using Canada and India as examples.

Have a great summer. See you in September.


Two of our afternoon presenters: Terry Buttler, Chair, and Sharron Buttler, Newsletter Editor

A few snapshots for OGS Conference 2016 at the International Plaza Hotel in Toronto

The Expo Hall, AKA the Marketplace at OGS Conference 2016
Quinte Branch had a table.

Quinte Branch May Meeting
Presentation Topic: The Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County
presentation bAmanda Hill (Archivist)
Article by John Carew
Photography by Georgette Green

This presentation featured Amanda Hill, Archivist for the Community Archives of Belleville & Hastings County. She provided us with a slideshow personal guided tour and explanation of the new facilities described the complicated process of moving the Archives from the Hastings County Historical Society building in the old Cannifton Town Hall to the new spaces in the Belleville Public Library, and discussed what’s included in their collection and how to access the records.

Amanda Hill, Archivist for the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County

Amanda enhanced her presentation with a very thorough primer on the role of archives in general, the business of keeping documents safe while making them available to researchers, and the complexities of balancing the safety and security of the archival material with use by the general public.

For future research projects, the resources available at our Archives in Belleville include documents from City of Belleville from 1836, County of Hastings from 1850, Genealogical collections, Gerry Boyce fonds, Name Index to Hastings Historical Society collections, photographic collections, Women’s Institutes, local Newspapers, Belleville Public Library local history subject files, maps, plans and architectural drawings, and Intelligencer negatives.

Terry Buttler, Chair, with new Archive material

The new Archives are a wonderful investment in the heritage preservation of our community and there is ample room for future acquisitions. By way of example, on May 29th at the invitation of the Lewis Zandbergen family, the Archives, Historical Society and Quinte Branch OGS were well represented in collaboration at the Zandbergen home to examine and take possession of a considerable portion of Lewis’ extensive local history and genealogical collections which he mustered during several decades of heritage endeavours prior to his death in February. We are ever grateful for the generosity and thoughtfulness of the Zandbergen family.

When you have time in your busy schedules, pay a visit to the Archives at the Belleville Public Library, and be sure to visit the website of the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County at

Terry Buttler, Chair, thanks Amanda Hill for her presentation

Quinte Branch April Meeting
Presentation Topic: LDS Resources for Genealogists
presentation bWendy MacDonald and Mary Longmuir
Article by John Carew
Photography by Georgette Green

Our regular General Meeting for April was anything but regular. First, it was preceded by a Book Reading by a local author which was very successful and well attended and put just a little pressure on getting set up for our meeting. Second, we were to have had two guest speakers. However, that changed and Wendy MacDonald had to carry the day, covering both parts of the advertised topics. Third, our Social Hostess was unable to attend, so adjustments were made at the last minute to ensure provision of refreshments for the gathering. Finally, the presentation was delivered as the first order of business for the afternoon to accommodate other commitments by our speaker. Our new Chair of Quinte Branch, Terry Buttler, presided over his first meeting with dexterity and flexibility, making what was the epitome of Plan “B” look and feel like Plan “A”. Well done Terry!

As most of us know, there are many ways to skin a genealogical cat. At this point for some reason, my 5 cats quietly left the computer room. Family Historians and Genealogists alike, with any wear on their research tires, have all at one time or another accessed and used the resources and copious records of their local LDS Family History Centre and the very familiar Family Search website, which is continually being updated with additional resources and features. Beginners are well advised to check out these valuable resources for future and continued reference. Wendy MacDonald held our attention for the better part of an hour, reviewing the resources available at the Trenton Family History Centre (advice and assistance, records, microfilm and microfiche tools) and explaining and demonstrating via an online connection how to access and use the website for research and family tree creation, building, and maintenance. The hand in glove connection between local Centres and 
the Family Search website is not by accident, but a well thought out interface for computerized and non-computerized research in person, and online. There were many questions from the audience in respect to the Trenton Centre and the website, which Wendy handled in exemplary fashion during the course of her presentation and following during a final wrap-up Q&A session. Of particular interest was the methodology and features of the family tree option.

Wendy MacDonald from the Trenton Family History Centre with Terry Buttler, Chair

Annual General Meeting & Elections 2016 and Digital Presentation
Topic: DNA Research for Genealogists – Beyond the Basics
presentation by Dr. Ugo Perego PhD
Article by John Carew
Photography by Georgette Green

Quinte Branch held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, March 19, followed by a webinar presentation on DNA. The gathering of about 40 members and guests were welcomed to the AGM at 1 pm and following a few brief announcements, the Agenda was presented and approved. Summarily, the Branch business motions were addressed, explained where necessary, and voted on in the traditional method of a show of hands. All motions for approval carried, Minutes of the 2015 AGM, the 2015 Financial Audit, Election of Branch Council volunteers for 2016, and the 2016 budget, and the essential business of the Branch was appropriately concluded. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 pm. 

Terry Buttler, new Chair for Quinte Branch and John Carew, Past Chair

Of particular note, the Quinte Branch Council for 2016, thanks to the generosity and volunteer spirit of the current council members, is very much a mirror image of the 2015 slate, with only a few notable exceptions. Sharron Buttler joined the Council as Editor of the newsletter a couple of months ago, Terry Buttler has taken over the leadership role of Quinte Branch as Chair, and John Carew, as outgoing Chair will assume the role of Past Chair. The Council and members thank Peter Johnson UE for his 6 years as Chair and Past Chair.

DNA Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics
*Legacy Webinar used with permission

After a very short pause following adjournment of the AGM, Bob Dawes introduced the webinar topic. Dr. Perego’s lecture was originally given in 2012. Over the intervening time, the genealogical community has benefitted from considerable advertising, presentation opportunities and many have taken the plunge as far as having their DNA tested for genealogical research purposes. Consequently, the audience was able to follow and absorb the teaching points about DNA testing and its benefits reasonably well, despite the academic tone and character of the discourse, better than might have been the case in 2012. Dr. Perego explained the nature and differences of the main types of DNA tests, Y-line Chromosome DNA, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal DNA, and X Chromosome DNA, and offered several clinical examples of how the results of these tests can be applied to further genealogical research and prove or disprove possible familial connections discovered in more analog types of family history research. He was also quick to point out that while the DNA industry and its proponents were initially diligent in explaining the nature and paybacks of testing, education and advice for the end user as to how to apply and manipulate test data to achieve maximum benefit was much slower in coming. Happily, that gap is closing.

Following the presentation, in addition to leading the Q&A discussion, Bob offered a short primer on the several available types of comparison databases which can be accessed to help explore many of the fundamental reasons to have DNA tested in the first place. Bob’s explanations of this critical extended use of the DNA test results were well received, and clearly enhanced the value of Dr.  Perego’s presentation to our group. Follow up on self-education about DNA testing and its merits is available and plentiful on the internet. Start your search engines!

Quinte Branch February Meeting
Presentation Topic: Scotland from Abroad
presentation by Robert G. Dawes

Article by John Carew,
Photography by Georgette Green

The audience was keenly interested in learning about Scottish research

A very well attended Branch meeting February 20th was the occasion for an in-house lecture by one of our own, Bob Dawes. We have been making a concerted effort over the past two years to feature representatives and speakers from our heritage colleagues in Northumberland, Lennox and Addington, Frontenac, Hastings, and Prince Edward Counties to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the available local resources and what they have to offer to our members to facilitate the pursuit of quality family history research. Building on this theme, we have also made a case for calling upon our own Branch members from time to time, authors, researchers and family historians to help complete the picture.

Bob and Barbara have been concentrating their efforts for a couple of years on Scottish ancestral research, at home through the miracle of the internet and in situ at the best places in Scotland for them to follow the trail of clues leading to research gold. Bob agreed to enlighten us on their successes, methods and the vagaries of Scottish research.

Bob Dawes shared details of researching in Scotland

This was a detailed examination of the building blocks to effective research from home, far more information than can be accommodated in this short review. The overview of how to approach the task included the importance of narrowing research focus through the use of geographical history of your ancestors if you have that information, know the type and timelines of various records which can be accessed, be aware of the multitude of Archives and Societies which can better support your research efforts, use the free websites to find or at least narrow down the location and timelines of your ancestors, then access the paid websites as necessary to get the documents you need.

It sounds simple enough, but the advice Bob offered highlighted the fact that each county has its own unique set of parameters for successful research, and learning the ropes and mapping out your objectives, before you start spending a lot of money, is well worth the time and effort: ergo, planning and preparation is the key. He then presented several examples of the main records types to be found through use of mainstream examples of Old Parish Records (from 1551), Statutory Records (from 1855), and Census Returns (from 1841-1911).
There is no doubt from Bob’s perspective that he and Barbara enjoyed the research in Scotland as much or more than doing it from home, but home is a place to start.

For those who were unable to attend and would like the opportunity to browse the links suggested to dig into Scottish research, click here:

Bob Dawes, Database & IT Coordinator and Terry Buttler, Vice-Chair

Crouse-Wanamaker Lecture: Presentation Topic: Tweed Heritage Centre
presentation by Evan Morton and Dutch Vermeer
Article by John Carew,
Photography by Georgette Green

On January 16, our annual “Crouse-Wanamaker Lecture” featured Evan Morton and Dutch Vermeer who shared their passion and pride in the treasures that the Tweed Heritage Centre has to offer. Open year-round, it is a destination heavily frequented by tourists, the general public, researchers and genealogists, who come to peruse the Meiklejohn Reference Room and Morton Archives. Visitors learn much about Tweed’s past and its people at the site’s Houston House, originally built in 1897. The Centre features an Information Bureau, Local Arts & Crafts room, Art Gallery, Museum, Reference Room and Archives, and a Genealogical Centre, including extensive, comprehensive collections, including over 500 genealogies.

The Tweed Heritage Centre filled with Treasures for Family Historians

Evan, Curator and Chief Researcher, provided us with a visual tour, on screen, of several of the Centre’s rooms, chalk-a-block with an untold number of artifacts that capture the nature and character of the Tweed community over numerous decades, all the while ensuring us that each piece in the Tweed collection has a story to tell about the people of Tweed and District and every story is worth hearing.

Dutch gave an overview of the Military Tribute Gallery and the progress they have made in making it a worthy and perhaps unexpectedly successful and popular component of the Centre. Donations keep pouring in and the space requirements have grown in proportion to the area of Hastings County now represented in the Gallery.

Clearly, Evan and Dutch enjoyed expounding on the attractions waiting to be seen firsthand at the Tweed Heritage Centre, and we enjoyed the overture that we should mark a date on our calendars to make a first visit. Judging by the number of items on display as shown in the PowerPoint slides, more than one visit will be necessary!

Military Tribute Gallery
Speakers: Evan Morton and Dutch Vermeer with Vice-Chair, Terry Buttler


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