The OGS Conference this past weekend was a whirlwind of sessions, volunteering, and coffee-drinking. It was held at a hotel out near the airport, so I was commuting 20-40 mintues each day, depending on traffic, and Friday and Saturday mornings I started at 7 am (working the sign-in desk) so I had some very long days.
But the good news is that the sessions were terrific, I got some great ideas for proceeding with my work, and made some interesting connections with people. Case in point: both mornings I worked with a woman who used to live in Ottawa, has ancestors in Gatineau, and still belongs to the Ottawa Branch of the OGS. She explained the genesis of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and that they do a lot of work on Home Children, including an upcoming conference in Ottawa this fall. So I hope to get up to that.
I had also volunteered to work in the Research Centre onsite at the conference, as set of 12 laptops with free access to some popular (paid) genealogical websites (like Ancestry and Find My Past.) The woman who organized the volunteers also looks after inquiries that come into the Toronto Branch of the OGS and they have been looking for someone to deal with inquiries needing research at the North York Central Library, which is a stone’s throw from my place, Helping them out with this will improve my research skills and introduce me to some of the resources that I haven’t yet discovered.
There was a marketplace at the conference with representation from major family history societies, publishers, software and internet-based companies, and some miscellaneous vendors. I was able to purchase a copy of a book that I had just borrowed from the public library and decided that I needed a copy. It’s called The Golden Bridge: Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939 by Marjorie Kohli, and is the best overall resource on Home Children available at the moment. I had so many post-its in my borrowed copy that I knew I had to get my own! I also purchsed a CD-ROM containing The Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882, and a book published by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies called Researching Canada’s Home Children by John D. Reid.
I’ll post about what I learned in the sessions later, including some great tips that have already led to me connecting with “cousins”!