Ottawa Spotlight اضواء أوتاوا

Hitch your wagon to a star

BIFHSGO June Meeting Saturday June 11, 2011 at 9:00 at Library and Archives Canada.  Note the earlier starting time for the meeting.

8:30-9:00 –Payments will be accepted for the pre- conference London Research Masterclass.  More info is below.  Register June 1 by email to  There is a limit of twenty (20) spaces available.

9:00 – ~ 9:30 BIFHSGO Annual General Meeting


9:30—10:00  Visit the Discovery Tables 

10:00 a.m.  BIFHSGO Great Moments Sessions

The Letters of Nicholas Watson 1820-26
by Brian Watson

Brian Watson’s second great granduncle, Nicholas Watson (1794-1827) emigrated from Durham County England to Pittsburgh about 1820.  Nicholas wrote long letters back to his family describing his new life in America in the period 1820-26. Four of them are extant, deposited in the University of Pittsburgh library. Brian acquired copies of the originals and transcripts last year and will give a summary of the letters focusing on the problems and ideas Nicholas thought relevant. The letters provide an interesting insight into early 19th century working class concerns. The letters point to ways he proposed to make a living, the pivotal importance of Methodism in his life, and the introduction of his new wife to his family in England.

About the Speaker

Brian Watson is a retired foreign service officer and has been a BIFHSGO member for several years. He has served as the co-chair of the annual BIFHSGO conference this year and last.

From Coolross to Canada and Back
by Ann Burns

This story is about how, by a very unlikely set of circumstances, Ann and her father came upon the exact place where his great great grandparents had once had their cabin as tenant farmers in Ireland. They had left Ireland in 1847. Not only did Ann and her father find the place, they found living family members in Ireland with great stories to tell.

About the Speaker
Ann Burns has been a member of BIFHSGO for 5 years and helped with the project to scan ACR to DVD. She has been researching her family history for about 7 years, since she retired from her government job at DND where she was as a technical facilitator for electronic meetings. She is currently trying to put more historical context around the lives of her ancestors, who came from Ireland, England, and France. The most rewarding aspect has been coming to know her Irish relatives whom she’s visited twice since her great discovery. 

Uncle Oscar’s Poisonous Paramour
by Susan Davis

When Oscar Laberee left the family farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in 1884, he headed west to seek his fortune. Fortunes he made, but at home he left behind a titillating tale of the village shopkeeper being poisoned by his young wife who wanted Oscar. By 2009, family and village friends had mostly forgotten the details. Responding to her mother’s request to find out what really happened, Susan enjoyed a great moment the day she discovered a trial transcript posted online and called her mom to read Uncle Oscar’s testimony at the trial of the shopkeeper’s wife.

About the Speaker
Despite growing up in a military family and living in four provinces and two countries, Susan Davis feels deeply connected to her Laberee ancestors and her Eastern Township roots thanks to her grandfather, the family historian and Uncle Oscar's nephew. A strategic communications advisor with Environment Canada, she is now picking up her grandfather's family historian role.


Andrew Barclay: There is One in Every Family - A Wanderer
by Elizabeth and Mario Lapointe

This talk will describe the author's search for Andrew Barclay, the grandson of the original Andrew Barclay, a United Empire Loyalist and one of the founders of Shelburne, Nova Scotia (1783). By the time Andrew (Jr) was born (1814), Shelburne had gone from a Loyalist city of about 10,000 to a small town. Andrew bounced around the town and took whatever jobs were available, until he took a trading boat to the Caribbean with his three sons. He never returned to Shelburne. The author will describe her 16 years of tracking Andrew throughout his life, always hoping to come across more information, until one day she did.


About the Speakers
Elizabeth Lapointe is the direct descendant of one of the founders of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist who came there from New York City in May, 1783. Her husband, Mario, is from Quebec City, and a direct descendant of Nicolas Audet dit Lapointe, one of the first settlers in the area. They have been active in genealogy for many years having owned and operated Buckingham Press in which they published books and newsletters. Today, Elizabeth writes for genealogy and general interest magazines, is the editor of Ontario Genealogical Society Families, and Mario is the Coordinator of the OGS Genealogy Week 2011.

When the Waves Turn the Minutes to Hours: The Tragic End of John Goddard, Master Hairdresser
by Gail Roger


What Gail Roger keeps learning as a family historian, over and over again, is that the most insignificant details lead to the biggest breakthroughs. This is the story of how the appearance of a distant uncle in the probate notice of an even more distant cousin eventually led her to the horrific details of the final months of her husband's great-great-great-grandfather's life.


About the Speaker

Unlike most BIFHSGO presenters, Gail Roger says she is an absolute nobody. She does have a graduate degree which she has failed to use for monetary gain; she used to teach English as a Second Language, but no more. She has been pursuing family history seriously (that is, online and taking courses) for the past eight years and for the sake of her daughters --- who aren't that interested.

If you have recently joined or have renewed your membership this summer, your card should be available at the next monthly meeting.  Check the Membership desk but also look in the back of your name badge holder.  Out of town members who joined or renewed will receive their cards in the mail.

Meeting Tips:
Enjoy the Discovery tables, refreshments and chat with friends. Renew your membership and / or pick up your membership card.  Free parking is available in lots to the east of the building. Please treat Discovery table materials with care, as if your own valued collection. Keep coffee and other drinks away as spills will damage them. When materials are covered during the presentations in the auditorium it's a sign they should not be disturbed.


See to read the complete June newsletter, including:


BIFHSGO  Fall Conference 2011 

!!Conference Added Attraction!! 
Do you have an ancestor lost in London? If it's someone you've tried all the usual approaches with and are still stumped, take heart. 

Conference speaker Helen Osborn, who specializes in London research, is offering a London Research Masterclass as a short pre-conference session on Friday, September 16 at 4 p.m. This is not a lecture but an opportunity for you to bring and share your London genealogy problems and receive expert advice. 

By the nature of the session the number of people who can be accepted is very limited, a maximum of 20. The session is only for those who have already worked assiduously at resolving their problem. You will need to be well prepared to make the best of your time as no more than 10 minutes can be allowed for each participant's problem. 

The fee is $15 for BIFHSGO members or full conference registrants; $20 for others. Email Kathy Wallace at on Wed June 1 to register for the session.  Payment is then due at the June BIFHSGO meeting.

This May Be News To You

FindmyPast update

Improved indexing of BMDs complete for English and Welsh BMD databases.
Findmypast Ireland released

Gloucestershire records and Montgomery records


Ancestry update
Browse the scanned record images for the 1911 Census for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man on  
UK Military campaign and Award Rolls, 1793 - 1949 the UK Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793 - 1972

The British Newspaper Archive

England Jurisdictions Map 1851

Society of Genealogists
My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman reprinted

Home Children Links

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