Quinte Branch November Meeting:
AGM and Great Moments in Genealogy
by Quinte Branch
Article by John Carew, Photos by Georgette Green
The November 18, 2017 Branch Meeting which was the last of our
events for 2017 has come and gone.
The abbreviated Annual General Meeting (AGM) was Chaired by Terry
Buttler, primarily focused on three agenda items: Election of
Officers for the 2018 Branch Executive, an oral summary of the
Chair’s report for 2017, and a reminder from the Membership
Coordinator that membership renewal is upon us. The final and
detailed report from the Chair with be published in 2018 and
submitted to OGS for consolidation with all the OGS Branch reports,
as is our custom. Minutes of the AGM will be submitted for approval
by the general membership at the earliest opportunity in 2018.
The Election of Officers was a brief event, with all incumbent
Officers being acclaimed in their respective positions for 2018,
with one exception. The Treasurer’s position becomes vacant in 2018,
and, there being no volunteers or nominations for the position, we
will begin the 2018 calendar year without a treasurer in place,
along with the five Committee Chair positions being officially
vacant, namely Library, Programme, Publications, Webmaster and
Quinte Branch will continue to function for the present with this
limitation. However, it is to be expected that adjustments to the
Branch Council list of positions, and list of tasks to be performed
on an ongoing basis (essential and optional) may have to go through
a reconciliation of sorts as we begin the new year.
"Great Moments" presentations
Rodney Green on “traditional family history” vs “researched history”
Following the AGM, the assembly enjoyed presentations and discussion
on the general topic of Great Moments in Genealogy. Three podium
presentations were sufficient to generate a robust “to and fro” on
the content of the presentations, other similar experiences, what to
do with old unnamed photos and a smattering of other issues which we
from time to time experience in the great and not-so-great
adventures of family history and genealogical pursuits. Lois Duggan
offered a heartwarming reminiscence of her Canniff and Ridley
ancestors and their sacrifices and accomplishments during the Great
War, 1914-1918. Rodney Green showcased a comparative example of
family history facts of the Mason family as viewed by his
grandmother in her time as family historian against a slightly
different set of facts, exposing the soft underbelly of our favorite
pastime which is fraught with the limitations of “passed down family
history” versus “researched history”, both of which are subject to
the knowledge of the historian and the facts available in a given
moment. John Carew explained the benefits of collaboration over time
using the example of the Faulkner family who came to Canada in the
early part of the 19th century, where the collaboration and the gain
in knowledge was in both directions in terms of the search for truth
in shared family history.
WW1 memorabilia by Lois Duggan and the importance of collaboration
by John Carew, Past Chair
Quinte Branch October Meeting:
Presentation Topic: The Skies Above:
Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Arras, 1917
by Major William March
Article by John Carew
Most Canadians are generally aware of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9-12
April 1917) as part of our history. It would be the first time that
the four divisions of the Canadian Corps of the Canadian
Expeditionary Force fought together as a single formation achieving
a victory that had alluded allied armies up to that point. Less well
known is the massive air campaign that accompanied the successful
assault on the ridge. By that period of the war, aviation had become
a vital component of combat and value of the air arm in supporting
the Canadian attack cannot be overstated. In a lively and
informative presentation, Major Bill March examined the various
roles undertaken by Allied airmen, many of them Canadian, as they
fought and died supporting their brethren on the ground. It must be
pointed out that most of us have had a long-held understanding of WW
1 as a war between armies and navies of the combatant nations. Prior
to 1914, the only previous use of air power in combat was the
Italian-Turkish war of 1911. Through the period 1914-1918, not only
did air power experience a growth in importance to the ground war
outcomes, there was a parallel evolutionary explosion in terms of
aircraft research and development, aircrew training, role expansion
and integration of the air and ground campaigns which served the
purposes of enhancing the effectiveness of the ground war, and
established a place of importance in the order of battle for
Major March very effectively used quotes from combatants in the war
which spoke directly to the successes and failures of the use of air
power, clearly revealing the unpredictability of this new element of
warfare, and the transition by war’s end to more successes and less
failures. In addition, there were many photographs provided to
highlight the starkness of the struggles being played out in WW 1,
both in the air and on the battlefields which claimed so many lives.
To wit, the Royal Flying Corps which included many Canadians, had a
very positive influence in the outcome of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Arras, 1917
Major March served over 35 years in the CF/RCAF, is an RMC graduate,
flew with several Maritime Air Squadrons, and had one tour in
Afghanistan. Bill holds a Master’s Degree from the University of
Victoria. His varied career in flying roles, staff appointments and
RCAF history and heritage has continued with the Primary Reserve as
the RCAF Historian.
John Carew, Past Chair, Major William March, and Terry Buttler,
(Photo by Georgette Green)
Quinte Branch September Meeting:
Presentation Topic: Tales from the Script:
to Read Old Handwriting
by Carol St. Clair
Article by Terry Buttler, Photos by Georgette Green and Cheryl Levy
Our first meeting of our Fall sessions turned out to be a busy day.
Sept. 16th was “Doors Open 2017” for Quinte West and once
again our OGS Quinte Branch was an active participant. Even before
the “official” start of 9:30 am for Doors Open, we had people in our
Library looking for guidance on their Family History research.
Throughout the day and right up to Quinte Library closing time, we
had visitors coming in and asking everything from general questions
• How do I start doing my Family History?
• What resources do you have?
To the very specific:
• Do you have any information on my family name?
• My grandmother came from around here; how do I find out more
information on her?
• How does DNA work?
Needless to say, these questions required one-on-one interaction and
kept our volunteers very busy and engaged. Overall, we had over 50
visitors; it was a full day in our library meeting, interesting
people. You really don’t realize how much you know about a subject
matter until you start talking to someone about it.
Doors Open Quinte West 2017 at Quinte West Public Library.
Visitors exploring the Quinte Branch Research Library.
Sept 16th was also our scheduled general meeting day. “Doors Open”
visitors were welcomed to attend, as are all members of the general
public. Some of our members continued to volunteer their time in our
library during the meeting to provide coverage for those ongoing
visitors, so they missed our extremely interesting speaker and her
topic. (Thank you Sharron and John.)
Carol St. Clair gave us an interactive presentation on “Tales
from the Script”. Carol is a Certified Master Graphologist and
Document Examiner by profession with an interest in her own family
history. After taking us through some basics like having the
audience draw single lines to express certain emotions, she showed
us how physical characteristics and patterns of handwriting can be
interpreted to show a person’s personality. Applying these
techniques to old letters, post cards, wills, and other documents
that your ancestor wrote, your family history research takes on a
whole new dimension. Yes, Graphology may be generally considered a
pseudoscience, but judging on our audience reaction to some of the
possible personality evaluations of known relatives’ handwriting and
their own knowledge of that relative, there were some startling
confirmations. Who knew the size of your letters, the spacing
between words, the way you made your “L” and “e” loops, dotted your
"i’s," crossed your "t’s" etc, could say about you or your long
deceased relative? Wow! Thank you Carol!
An interesting and insightful way to kick off the fall session!
Carol St. Clair, Master Graphologist and Terry Buttler, Chair
Quinte Branch May Meeting:
Presentation Topic: Hastings 1867
by Dick Hughes
Article by John Carew, Photos by Georgette Green
Richard Hughes gave us a glimpse into the Village of Trenton and
Hastings County in 1867
For the Quinte Branch meeting on May 20, our members and guests were
treated to a “Then and Now” presentation in two parts. Richard
Hughes whisked us back 150 years to May 20, 1867 to accomplish two
things. One was to bring into focus the amazing developments of the
previous two years, 1865-67, and how the Dominion of Canada came
about at Charlottetown, Quebec City and London. And two, just a
couple of months before the creation of the newly minted and united
Dominion of Canada, we were offered insight as to where we stood as
citizens of this new entity in the village of Trenton, city of
Belleville and County of Hastings. In short, we were provided with a
snapshot at what life was like in our communities on May 20, 1867.
Richard gave us some close-ups of the development of the Quinte area
as of that time, and the promises of a better future as the riches
of Canada were developed. He presented in full costume for the
Terry Buttler, Quinte Branch Chair, thanks Richard Hughes and his
Marilyn & Richard Hughes with the #Canada150 tulips in front of
Quinte West Public Library
Update for Canada150 Project
by John Carew
John Carew provided a short review of our Quinte Branch Canada 150
Project. John provided a summation of the project outcomes, and gave
us a glimpse of some of the ancestral history contributions which
have turned the project into a living and breathing digital book
about our 1867 Canadian ancestors.
As this was the last meeting before the summer break, and only about
40 days before the big “150” celebration, it seemed like a very good
time to wrap up the successful outcome of our Canada 150 project, a
celebration of our Canadian ancestors, and look at our ancestral
heritage and our Canada, then and now, through the lens of May 20,
1867, provided in fine fashion by Richard Hughes. The 45 in
attendance enjoyed the lovely Saturday afternoon, on Victoria Day
weekend. As a poignant reminder, it was Queen Victoria who signed
the British North America Act into being, effectively, Canada’s
birth registration papers, dated 150 years ago.
Quinte Branch April Meeting:
Digital Presentation Topic: Taming Your Inner
by Lisa Alzo
Article by John Carew,
photos by Georgette Green
The lead-in to this webinar was, “Are you drowning in a sea of
papers, documents, old photographs and other research materials?
Feeling like a family history hoarder? If you want to be a more
efficient and organized genealogist, then you won’t want to miss
this special genealogy society presentation. Learn how to purge your
inner packrat and bust through the clutter:
How to organize family history documents, photographs, for quick
The pros and cons of going paperless.
Stress-free filing strategies and creating checklists to stay on
Effective ways for distributing and sharing genealogical information
Tools, apps and resources for taming your paper and electronic
I have repeated the promo literature for good reason. It is not the
first time that we have heard these ideas espoused. The subject is
about correcting a lot of bad habits, not only in genealogy matters,
but in our daily lives.
Lisa Alzo gave us some personal insights as to how and why she
embraced the need to change and improve her own situation, and spent
the rest of her presentation time trying to convince us to buy into
this philosophy. The ideas she offered for consideration all make
perfect sense, will help us down the road in our ability to find,
use, share and preserve the important documents, photos and
information that we all have labored so hard and long to amass, and
all we must do is change our habits.
Thankfully, for those of us who attended this webinar lecture, Lisa
provided a basketful of handout links to other genealogists for
motivation and perspective about the range of possibilities and
benefits that we might want to adopt. Lisa made it perfectly clear
that we are all individualistic, and not every idea for organization
and sorting and preservation and managing our genealogical treasures
will appeal to every one of us. The message nonetheless is to do
something that will work for us, individually.
I am considering her suggestions, and have found a couple of ideas
that don’t seem like too much of a brick wall to start climbing
over. The key is, make time for getting rid of the packrat syndrome.
For more information about the content of this presentation,
visit website here.
Great tips for Organizing and Decluttering our Genealogy
Quinte Branch March Meeting:
Digital Presentation Topic: What Shape is Your DNA?
by Diahan Southard
Article by John Carew
The Quinte Branch gathering of members and guests was treated to
another highly informative lecture in our educational series on the
evolutionary use of DNA in genealogical research. Make no mistake
about it: of all the tools or sets of tools available to the ardent
family historian to conduct research, DNA is the most complex, novel
and least fully developed. Each year sees marked progress in the
transition of this scientific field of study from the research
laboratory to the desk of you and I, refinement after refinement,
from theory to professional opinion to state of the art methodology.
In Diahan Southard’s opening remarks, she zeros in on the genetic
genealogy industry, the crucible for all things DNA in the quest for
a smooth and complete transition from pure science to practical
application in our chosen pursuit of truth in family history.
In this regard, much is being discovered in genetic genealogy about
the ways in which we can analyze our autosomal DNA data. There is a
hot debate over two seemingly competing ideas: the DNA Circle, or
the Triangulation method. The DNA Circle was pioneered by
AncestryDNA and relies on small shared segments and complete family
trees. The Triangulation method requires a chromosome browser and
detailed calculations of shared amounts of DNA. Diahan covered
questions like, which is the best route to take? Do I need a
chromosome browser? How can I use these methods in my own genealogy?
Autosomal DNA is an ever-changing field, and this lecture e the
latest methods of analysis and interpretation for the non-scientist
As with most subjects of this nature and complexity, the best we can
do is pay attention to the advancements, and the simplification of
procedures and availability of “how to” advice. More than many other
aspects of our hobby, DNA brings with it greater and more refined
abilities to solve research problems, and an equally impressive
learning curve which must be mastered.
Quinte Branch February Meeting:
Digital Presentation Topic:
Staying Safe with Social Media
Webinar Presentation by Thomas MacEntee
Article by Cheryl Levy
On February 18, our monthly meeting began with the usual
announcements by our Chair, Terry Buttler, and a report that our
membership totals are up for this year compared to the same time
period last year. This is good news at a time when some are choosing
online research over belonging to a local genealogy society. Both
are valuable since many resources have not been digitized or
uploaded to the Internet. If you have not yet renewed your OGS and
Quinte Branch memberships for 2017, visit our website
here for details.
Next John Carew, Past Chair, gave an update on our #Canada150
Project. The April 1st deadline is fast approaching. Everyone, who
had ancestors living in what is now Canada on July 1, 1867, is
encouraged to make a submission, no matter how long or short it is
as format and length are entirely up to the contributor. Submission
Guidelines and details are available
Quinte Branch OGS #Canada150 Project
Our scheduled February presentation was Tales of the Script
by Carol St. Clair, however, she was unable to attend due to
illness. Carol will be rescheduled to present at a later time. This
launched Plan B into action after acquiring permission to show the
digital presentation Staying Safe with Social Media by Thomas
MacEntee in its place. This recording was originally a Legacy Family
Tree Webinar and can be accessed
The description says, "Are you hesitant to use popular social
media sites such as Facebook or Twitter or even Pinterest and share
your genealogy research because of issues involving personal
information and privacy? Learn how to safely navigate these sites
and still get the most out of them!" Thomas did an excellent job
of breaking it down into easy step-by-step tasks for users to
investigate their settings and options to ensure their privacy and
online security were protected. He gave both warnings and
recommendations for using the various social media platforms. The
presentation was followed by a brief question and answer time and,
of course, refreshments and conversation.
Quinte Branch January Meeting:
Presentation Topic: Taking Root in
a New Land
Presentation by Cheryl Levy, PLCGS
John Carew, Photos by Georgette Green
At least once a year, Quinte Branch Council takes the opportunity to
reflect on the beginnings of the Branch and the far-sighted Charter
members who took it upon themselves to gift to Hastings and Prince
Edward Counties a genealogy resource to be proud of and be locally
available in the search for family history facts and figures. Each
January, our first general meeting for the calendar year provides us
with that special moment vis a vis the Crouse-Wanamaker Lecture.
Gordon Crouse and Loral and Mildred Wanamaker were instrumental in
bringing the Branch into being in 1980 and leading the way during
those critical first years. A brief history of the Branch was
offered by our Chair, Terry Buttler, highlighting the contribution
of Gordon, Loral and Mildred and the devotion of the 26 Charter
members to the Branch.
In consideration of the importance of this annual pause for
reflection, we always try to select an appropriate lecturer and
topic to suite the occasion. Mindful that 2017 is Canada’s 150th
Anniversary, and that we are celebrating not only the political and
social order implicit in the birth of a nation, it did not escape
our attention that Canada is, by any measure, principally a land of
immigrants, migrants and their descendants. So, easy peasy, we opted
for a lecture on immigration, delivered by our very own Cheryl Levy,
PLCGS. What a great decision that was!
Canadian immigration and migration
- Do you know what part your family played?
Cheryl could have taken the easy route and have only talked about
the mechanics of identifying ancestors through access to the
multitude of databases available to researchers. She covered that
aspect of course. In addition, she wiled us with 90 minutes of event
driven immigration and migration to Canada to join with the First
Nations peoples, through the earliest European migrations to North
America, and moving forward. As much as her presentation was
professional and replete with immigration and migration facts, and a
very eye-opening history of Canada’s development through the process
of immigration and migration, there was much more information than
what could be reasonably squeezed into this short article.
Thankfully, Cheryl was kind enough to have made her presentation
handout available to all members of Quinte Branch, in additional to
those members and guests who attended her lecture. The topics
covered included: Early Canadian Migration and Immigration, First
Nations, New France, Acadians, Louisburg, Foreign Protestants, New
England Planters, United Empire Loyalists, Settlement Plans - Peter
Robinson, and Emigration Schemes - British Home Children. It is my
firm belief that since the topic list does not bring us to the
present timeframe, there may well be a sequel lecture to fill that
void. We can only hope. Thanks Cheryl.
Terry Buttler, Chair, thanks
Cheryl Levy, PLCGS
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Ontario Genealogical Society
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