Personal Ancestral File (PAF) – Moving ON without PAF

  • What is happening?

    FamilySearch will no longer offer PAF downloads or support after JULY 15, 2013.

    • Why is it happening?

      Advances in technology, strong alternatives from third parties, and the need to focus on the latest FamilySearch initiatives have diminished the need for PAF as part of the FamilySearch offering.

      • How do I move to another software program?

        It’s easy. FamilySearch recommends that you choose one of the following free, third-party products that have each been certified to work with FamilySearch and the Family Tree.

Vicki McKay UE, Leamington, ON, Canada: “Sorting Fact From Fiction… and lessons learned along the way”

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Ontario Genealogical Society – Essex Branch (EssexOGS) in November, Vicki Mckay provided the following summary of the talk for those individuals that were unable to attend. It is our understanding that Vicki will be speaking at future OGS events – we recommend making time to attend her excellent presentation.

The “Sorting Fact From Fiction… and lessons learned along the way” presentation given by Vicki McKay focused on reasons behind misinformation in all forms of records, the importance of gathering ALL the records, tactics for finding those records and how to assess them.

Vicki talked about how it’s important to listen and record the details of family stories, but then to search the available records for proof to substantiate the oral history. However, just as it’s important to back up family stories with facts, it is essential that we not assume that official documents contain only correct information. There are many reasons why the information that our ancestors and relatives, as well as the official documents, provide us may be less than accurate. Even multiple records may, at times, be misleading. The people providing the information may not have known the facts even if the information pertains to them, they may have chosen to provide incorrect information or they may have altered the information for a variety of reasons. For that reason, it’s valuable to dig deep and collect as many records related to each particular event in a relative’s history as can be obtained. It’s also important that you don’t make assumptions from the records, but recognize exactly what information each record does and does not provide you with. For example, early English census records document people in a household, but NOT their relationship to one another. As such, it can be easy to assume that a child in a household is the offspring of the adults in the same household. However, this is not always the case.

In finding the records, searching for surname and given name variants is extremely helpful, and often essential if you are to find the information that you are looking for. When one person can’t be located, searching for other members of the family or family groups can be the key needed to open the door to continued research. Searching for a known address can also be useful when records have been poorly recorded and/or transcribed. In addition, both narrow searches, including as much detail as possible, and wide searches (looking in larger geographic areas than you expect your family to be found in) can be valuable in moving your research forward.

Most importantly, learn to look at any record that seems close to what you are looking for, even if some of the details don’t exactly meet your expectations. More often than not, these “close” records turn out to be what you are looking for. As you assess the records that you have amassed, pay particular attention to the smallest of details – people’s ages (and based on that, when they were born), the addresses where people were living, their occupation and who they were living with, who their identified relatives were as well as who witnessed the event, where they lived and what their occupations were. Recognize that a relationship may have to be proven through linkages across multiple documents rather than directly from one record to the next. Lastly, consider keeping an “Unrelated?” file; that is a file of records that you have found, and particularly those that you paid money and ordered, but didn’t pan out. Review this file every few months and you’ll be amazed that a few of those “unrelated” individuals will begin to fit into your tree. Most of all, as you work to break down the brick walls in your research, keep an open mind and have fun!

Vicki McKay UE, Leamington, ON, Canada


Irish Family History Workshop

Irish Family History Workshop

November 17, 2012, North York Central Library

This full-day workshop will cover a comprehensive range of topics of interest to family historians with Irish research interests.

Detailed information about the programme, speakers and registration will be available on the Toronto Branch website by mid-August, 2012. Contact Toronto Branch OGS,

Windsor’s Community Museum (Archives) located in the Francois Baby House, built in 1812 by François Baby, a French-Canadian: Hours –

Windsor’s Community Museum is located in the Francois Baby House, an historic house built in 1812 by François Baby, a prominent French-Canadian. Windsor’s Community Museum has a wide array of collections, which document the rich history of this community.  Amongst them are:

  • The Artifact Collection

Over 15,000 artifacts are carefully stored in the Museum’s underground storage facility (under the patio next to the Museum). The oldest artifacts, archaeological material, date from as early as 3000 B.C. with the most recent being examples of local contemporary culture.

  • Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Postcards & Photographs Collection

This collection depicts various scenes related to the history of Windsor & Essex County, such as archaeology, architecture, specific communities, industry, persons, transportation, etc.

  • The Cartographic & Map Collection

This collection is a well-preserved series of maps dating from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Many of the maps show patterns of land development, detailing such aspects as lot divisions, geographic features and proposed developments. The collection also includes Fire Insurance Plans, which detail site features and structure construction, dating from 1885.

  • The Book Collection

The book collection is intended for reference use only. The collection encompasses a wide variety of subject matter including local history, biographies and museology. Dozens of the Museum’s books pertaining to local history are quite rare: for example, they have the only extant copy of the Windsor City Directory for 1874.

  • Archival Collection

The Museum has a large archival collection, which may be accessed either through microfilm or microfiche. It contains a wide variety of documentation and is quite comprehensive in its coverage of the history of Windsor, from the time of French settlement until the 1950s.

Newspaper Collection

  • Please contact the Museum for a detailed list of holdings

They are located at the François Baby House, 254 Pitt Street West, Windsor, Ontario N9A 5L5

The Museum offers service to the public year round.

U. of Windsor, Leddy Library – Rare Books Collection: History of Southwestern Ontario

Rare Books and Special Collections is located in Room G-100 of the Leddy Library Building, at the University of Windsor. Public Reading Hours are Monday to Friday, 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

The contents of Rare Books and Special Collections are listed in the Leddy Library Catalogue (OPAC).

There are several areas of subject strength. Examples include:

  1. History of southwestern Ontario
  2. Manufacturing in southwestern Ontario
  3. Agriculture in southwestern Ontario
  4. Labour community in southwestern Ontario
  5. Anti-slavery, slavery and the Underground Railway
Phone: 519-253-3000 ext. 3184
Location: Main building basement, room G-100
Hours: Monday to Friday, 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Post 1812-14 necessity for a larger Canadian population

Immigration History of Canada.

The Quebec History Encyclopedia;

An excellent summary of the immigration hisotry of Canada. Of interest is the following quote from the web site:  “….The War of 1812 attracted attention to the necessity for a larger population in Canada, particularly of people with British sympathies. Consequently, the policy of encouraging emigration was adopted. Free grants of land were provided, also subsistence during the period of preparing the land for cultivation. Grants of land were also made to persons who agreed to place settlers on the land. Several groups were placed under this system in Upper Canada. Distressed weavers, particularly from Scotland and the north of England, were also assisted to settle in Canada….”

Windsor’s Scottish Heritage

The Windsor Scottish Heritage site provides some history of the immigration from Scotland – includes an interesting 1815  immigration scheme. As well as, a brief history of some families in the Windsor area, which may assist family tree hunters.

The 1880’s Walkerville Country Club (9 hole golf course) is mentioned as being located where the Walkerville High School now stands & some of the surrounding neighbourhood. On the south end of the grounds of the Willistead Manor across from the High School are a few bunker type mounts – it would be interesting to know if these were the location of some of the greens on the golf course.


Welcome to EssexOGS  – Region One of the Ontario Genealogical Society. The EssexOGS publications are located at the Windsor Public Library, Windsor, ON, Canada.

The purpose of the Essex OGS branch is to collaborate with those who are interested in researching their ancestral roots in Essex County, Ontario, Canada. We encourage you to attend the events and meetings to learn more and network with others interested in genealogy.

Happy hunting!