Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2014

My husband and I began our trek towards St Catharines, Ontario for the annual Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2014 on the 30th Apr. We had a few short stops to make in London and Princeton on the 30th and 1st of May which included visiting one of my brothers and then my parents/grandparents graves in Woodland Cemetery and then my husband's parents/grandparents /great grandparents graves in Princeton Cemetery. Then on the way to St Catharines on the Thursday arriving in the evening.

We try to cover a lot of bases when we do our trips to southwestern ontario and this time a trip had been planned to the Special Collections at Brock University. My husband has one ancestor that eludes him completely - Noah Force. His son Reziah Force lived for a time in southwestern Ontario but eventually returned to the United States with some members of his family but one of his daughters Elizabeth married Benjamin Kipp and remained in southwestern Ontario. We visited Elizabeth's and Benjamin's graves as they are buried in the same set of plots as their son William Henry Kipp and his wife Ida Carolina Wilhelmina Schultz and the parents of Ida namely Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Schultz and his wife Wilhelmine Fredericka Johanna Nieman. There are not many other Force stones in that cemetery but we photographed them all. The search for Force is intensifying. We had found a manuscript at the NYGBS library before it was moved to the NYPL and the emigrant ancestor to that particular family was a Mathew de la Force (French Huguenot) but we could not find a Noah in this extensive family tree. There was a Joseph Force named as a loyalist but no link yet with Noah. Hence we were visiting this special collection to see what we could find out about the Force family and I will leave it with my husband to share any of those details.

I spent the afternoon on Friday (having searched for Force in the morning) setting up the table for the Guild of One Name Studies for the 2014 OGS Conference. Friday, usually quiet, was actually a rather bustling day with 35 people expressing an interest in the Guild. I was also visited by four Guild members. Another Guild member, Kirsty Gray, past chair of the Guild, was doing four lectures/presentations at the Conference and she joined with me in welcoming people to the table. In total including Saturday and Sunday we spoke with more than 160 people about the Guild. We do not anticipate that that many people would be interested in doing one name studies. I estimate no more than 2-3% at the very most will join us in the Guild from any of these conferences.  Most people are interested in whether or not their surname is being researched and how do they go about contacting the individual who is researching their line(s).

The Friday evening Houston Lecture, which I attended, was given by Chris Paton. A noted genealogist, author, blogger, tutor and lecturer. He held the audience in the palm of his hand as he took us through his own ancestry flipping back between Scotland and Ireland at an amazing pace which quite rekindled my thoughts on my own mtDNA line which can be found from ancient times in Argyllshire/Ayrshire and then suddenly appears in the Midlands from 1750 on. Do I have such a process in my own line? My grandmother used to sing Irish lullabies and there was that pale white skin and reddish highlights in dark hair. Should I too be looking for the switching between Scotland and Ireland mulled around in my brain. Thank you to Chris for a most interesting lecture.

I spend all of my time at the OGS Conference at the Guild of One Name Studies table. I just find it easier that way so that I do not have to make up a roster of people to attend the table mostly and I actually do not mind doing so. Having taken 42 courses at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, I am comfortable in my research for the most part. I have projects that I want to work at and do not really want to go off from one tangent to another these days. I want to get certain projects completed and then I can jump back into the fray of new ideas.

Others have commented on the Conference so will leave it now. We met with other Force researchers on the Sunday afternoon and all day Monday driving about to various places learning more about the Force family. Not much new information but a lot of thinking and sometimes that can be just as important. In order to find information that has been hidden for two hundred years you need to have a plan. We cam up with some new thoughts and realize that a visit to New Jersey is a must to continue learning more about this family.

On the Tuesday morning we were off across the border into New York State on our way to Canton, New York and the University of St Lawrence Special Collections. In their holdings they have several boxes of Kip memorabilia and it proved to be a most interesting collection. Not a great deal of new information but some very good photographs of family members and the realization that they did finally work out their correct ancestry using the services of a genealogist.

Then home again to Canada and a nice rest for a couple of days. Then back to transcribing of Blake wills and more of the Routledge material.

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