Past Presentations

Quick link to Upcoming Presentations

Essex County Branch events consist of speaker presentations and road trips, held eight times a year.  Generally, no meetings are scheduled for January, July, August, or December.  All meetings are open to everyone, not just members. Speaker presentations are hosted by the branch to provide speakers who share their knowledge and expertise on a wide variety of topics related to family history research in general or specific to Essex County and surrounding area.  See the list below for past presentations (and road trips) to get an idea of the topics we cover.

When possible, our presentations are recorded for the benefit of anyone unable to attend in person.  Since we are all volunteers with varying technical skills, we work hard to offer a quality recording, however technology, equipment and skill sets do not always work in harmony. We do appreciate your patience and support. Scroll down the page for descriptions of and links to available recordings of past presentations or follow these links:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014

Past Presentations

Available past presentations may be viewed here:  Essex Branch YouTube Channel


February 2022 – Three Loyalist Heroes

  • Monday, February 7 – 7:00 pm
  • Ruth Nicholson, a proud UEL descendant, will discuss her research into the lives of three of her loyalist ancestors who played an important role in the history of Upper Canada and early Essex County. Register for this Zoom presentation now!  Click here to register for February.


November 2021 – French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
  • Loraine DeCerbo presents a virtual tour of the French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Michigan website.  She discusses their resources and how to use them effectively with a focus on French Notarial Records.

October 2021 – Gathering Family Facts on a Timeline
  • Special Guest Lynn Palermo
  • Timelines are amazing tools for family historians. At the most basic level, they are a great way to organize our family history information. However, they don’t just stop there, they can serve the family historian on many levels. Join us as Lynn Palermo demonstrates how to create a timeline and its multiple uses.
  • What attendees can expect to learn:
  1. Seven ways to use a timeline
  2. The best timeline apps available
  3. How to create a timeline
  4. What to include in your timeline
  5. How to use your timeline after it’s completed
September 2021 – 50 Years With HEIRS
  • Join us as we welcome the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society (HEIRS) to our virtual presentation. For 50 years, HEIRS has been preserving local history and assisting people researching their ancestors in Harrow and the surrounding area. HEIRS members will tell us about the material and resources they have in their impressive collection.

May 2021 – Finding Our Female Ancestors

April 2021 – Essex Branch Virtual Road Trip
  • A virtual Road Trip to the Essex Branch Collection at the Windsor Public Library (WPL); the Local History Branch; the Windsor Community Archives; and a visit to the Essex Branch website for a look into the Members’ Library.    April handout.pdf        April – guidetoholdings.pdf

March 2021 – Ancestry in Amherstburg & McGregor

February 2021 –  From the Outside Looking In: Paying Tribute to Essex County’s Black Canadian Families


November 2020 – DNA Painter
  • Patrick Shaul, from the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, will give an overview of this useful DNA tool and explain how to use it in your DNA research.
October 2020 – Olde Sandwich South Historical Society
  • Learn about the Olde Sandwich South Historical Society and the Sandwich South Cultural Centre in Essex County, Ontario. Kevin Durocher will discuss services and information available to family historians.
September 2020 – Home Sweet Home
  • This special presentation co-hosted by both Essex and Kent County Branches welcomes local family historian, Debra Honor UE.  Debra speaks about researching the history of family homes, buildings, and properties and what that information will provide for your family history.
March 2020 – Peter Robinson Settlements
  • Derek Blount, from Lost Branches LLC, speaks about the plan that brought many Irish ancestors to North America in the early 1800s.


November 2019 – 40th Anniversary Celebration!
  • Memories and milestones of branch activity highlights along with a certificate presentation by Society President Steve Fulton.
October 2019 – Connecting the Dots on Your Family Map
  • Derek Blount, from Lost Branches LLC, speaks about migration routes in different time periods that our ancestors travelled and how those routes fit in with your family history.
September 2019 – Essex County Newspapers
  • Art Rhino from the University of Windsor discusses using newspapers in your family history research.  Join us and bring a friend!  Everyone is welcome.
June 2019 – Road Trip:  Burton Collection
  • Detroit Public Library tour and presentation of the Burton Historical Collection and the Detroit Society of Genealogical Research.

Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan
Visit their website to learn more:  Here

Map to Detroit Public Library

May 2019 – Filles du Roi
  • Many French Canadian maternal lines lead back to a King’s Daughter. Agathe Vaillancourt from la Pionnière du Sud Ouest speaks about this program in New France and related research with their organization.
April 2019 – Tilbury & District Historical Society
  • Join us to hear about this historic organization and their resources for family history research in the Tilbury & surrounding area.
March 2019 – Italian Ancestry
  • Dan Fantore will share his expertise in Italian resources, naming practices, vocabulary, and delve into civil registrations, church records and sources for finding Italian ancestral home towns. Also, an overview of Windsor’s Italian Genealogy & Heraldry Society.
February 2019 – Exploring DNA
  • Speakers:  Linda Urquhart & David Hutchinson, Essex Branch members & family historians
  • Let’s explore how DNA can assist you in your family history research. Several Essex OGS Operating Committee members will provide information and share their experiences with DNA testing and results.


October 2018 – French Perseverance in the Detroit River Region
  • Many early setters in Essex County have French connections. Dr. Guillaume Teasdale, historian and author, will share the research he completed for his newest book
September 2018 – Fur Trade in Essex County
  • Presented by Chris Carter. Local historian and author Chris Carter will discuss the impact of the fur trade in Essex County and our ancestors’ lives. Join us and bring a friend!
September 2018 – SPECIAL PRESENTATION:  Family Tree Maker
  • MacKiev software representative Mark Olsen covers the basics, tips, tricks, and answers questions about Family Tree Maker, the popular family history program that works with online genealogy sites Ancestry and Family Search.  Whether you’ve been using it for years, just started using it, or are just curious about it, this presentation is for every family historian.
April 2018 – Road Trip to ECHRS
  • Visit to the Essex and Community Historical Research Society to learn about their resources – 18 Gordon Ave, Essex, Ontario.

Visit ECHRS website.

March 2018 – Newspaper Websites for Genealogy
  • There are more and more newspaper websites that provide a wealth of information for genealogists to add to their family history stories. Presentation by Debra Honor.
February 2018 – Webcast of “Land of Canaan: Researching Black Ancestors in Canada before Confederation”
  • Speaker:  Guylaine Petrin
  • Beginning in 1793, Upper Canada became a haven for African Americans seeking freedom and political rights. While this webinar uses examples from Black genealogy, many of the sources are useful for anyone who has ancestors who lived in Upper Canada during this period.  Guylaine Petrin will be available remotely to answer questions.
January 2018 – Family History 101
  • Jump start your family history research and join us to share and learn family history tips and techniques. We’ll have an open discussion about online research, favourite resources, ‘how-tos,’ latest genealogy tools, etc.


November 2017 Road Trip to Kingsville Archives 
  • Join us on another Road Trip when we visit the Kingsville-Gosfield Heritage Society Archives at the Kingsville Public Library (rear entrance), 40A Main Street West, Kingsville to learn about their resources.

Visit their website.

October 2017 – Precious Photos
  • Join us to learn about the preservation and restoration of family photos.  Our speaker is Brad MacLaren of MacLaren’s Photo Lab.
September 2017 – Local History Centre
  • Join us for a presentation about The Windsor Public Library’s Local History Centre with a tour by Tom Vajdik.  The library will also be presented with The Award of Merit from the Ontario Genealogical Society.  Windsor Mayor and the library board Chair, Drew Dilkens, will be in attendance.
June 2017 – Serbian Ancestors
  • Members of the Serbian Heritage Museum of Windsor will speak about their collection and resources which may assist those researching Serbian family history in Essex County.  Note earlier start time to accommodate library’s summer hours.
May 2017 – Road Trip to RFPO
  • Join us at La Pionniere du Sud-Ouest for a special visit to learn what resources they have available for French family history.
  • Their location:
Maryvale Convent for the Sister of the Good Shepherd
940 Prince Road
Windsor, Ontario
April 2017 – Using Google for Family History
  • Speaker: Colleen L’Abbe
  • Join us to learn tips and tricks for using Google in your family history research.
February 2017 – Family History Open House
  • Celebrate Family Day with us by ‘climbing your family tree’ at the Windsor Public Library in the Local History Room.  Staff and Essex branch volunteers will be available to answer your family history questions and discuss our collection.
February 2017 – Early African Canadian Communities in Essex County
  • Speaker: Irene Moore Davis
  • Join us in celebrating Black History Month and learning more about local area African Canadian heritage.
January 2017 – Write Your Family History
  • Speakers: Jim McTavish & Betty Garrett, Essex Branch members and family historians
  • Join us to learn more about researching, compiling, writing, and publishing family histories and memoirs.  There will also be a short annual general meeting for branch members.


November 2016 – Can GPS Prove My Lineage?
  • Speaker: Debra Honor, Essex Branch member and family historian
  • A GPS machine in your car helps you to find your destination. In genealogy, there is a direction to take to prove any descent back to an ancestor who may have been a part of a special group, eg. Loyalists, Mayflower Descendants, Royals, World War One, etc. In any specialized genealogy group, there must be proof between each generation to show the logical progression backwards to the original ancestor. This talk will discuss the way to approach your research, what documents are acceptable and how to prove a connection when the specific documents are not available. The GPS of genealogy (Genealogical Proof Standard) is useful not only for these special groups but for all family research.
October 2016 – Early Essex
  • We’re back at the Windsor Public Library to hear local historian and author, Chris Carter, speak about early settlements in southern Essex County and finding family history information for this area.  Please join us–Everyone is welcome!
September 2016 – Road Trip:  Let’s Go to Comber!
  • EssexOGS members and guests are visited the Comber & District Historical Society Museum, 10405 HWy #77 (south of the 401 on the right side of #77).  Museum staff provided information on their resource material.
  • See their website for more information about the Comber & District Historical Society: Comber Museum
June  2016 – Sandra Joyce
  • British home children.  Sandra Joyce’s father was one of the more than 100,000 children from the British Isles brought here over several decades beginning in the late 19th century, a forced exodus of humanity known today as the British Home Children.
May 2016 – Debra Honor
  • Cross Border Families.  Family history research that transcends borders.
April  2016 – Cathy Knight
  • Join us to learn about ‘dit names’, frequently encountered and often confusing for many in french family history research.
March 2016 – Goldie Howes
  • After coming into possession of a 150-year-old manuscript, Goldie Howes set out to find descendants and discovered a Belgian spy!  Join us to hear all about it.
February 2016 – Author Jane Buttery
  • Join us to hear Jane Buttery speak about the history in her novel An Unexpected Friendship: Amherstburg 1846, the story of the friendship between the son of an escaped slave and the son of an Irish immigrant.
January 2016 – Presentation and Annual General Meeting
  • Join us to hear Michael Fish, City of Windsor Archivist speak about the resources available at Windsor Community Archives and how to access them.  Everyone welcome!
  • A short part of the evening’s program will be the Annual General Meeting for Essex Branch Members.


November 2015 – “We Will Remember”
  • Speakers: Richard Herniman & Ted Steele from HEIRS
October  2015 – “Evaluating Genealogical Sources: Building a Solid Foundation”
  • Speaker:  Shirley Sturdevant, Past President Ontario Genealogical Society
September  2015 – “Where There’s a Will…”
  • Speaker:  Debra Honor UE
  • Wills can give us a wealth of information that usually comes straight from an ancestor near the end of their lives.
    Have a look to find out where to find this type of treasure and what an ancestor might reveal.
June  2015 – “United Empire Loyalists in Essex County”
  • Speaker:  Linda Iler, President – Bicentennial Branch, UELAC Southwestern
Monday, May 11, 2015 – “How Newspapers Contribute to Family History Research”
  • Speaker:  Veronique Mandal, Head of Journalism – St Clair College
Monday April 13, 2015 – “Do You Know Your Family”
  • Join us to hear George Pitfield speak about his discovery in middle age of his aboriginal heritage.
Monday, March 9, 2015 – “How the Scots Built Windsor”
  • Join us in welcoming back Heather Colautti from Windsor’s Community Museum to speak about the Scottish involvement in Windsor’s history.
Monday, February 9, 2015 – “Researching From a Distance”
  • Join us for guest speaker, Danielle Manning from Archives of Ontario.
  • Also, bring your questions for an “Ask the Genealogist” session.
Monday, January 12, 2015 – “Stories From Old Sandwich Town”
  • Join us to hear these tales by Historical Researcher & Storyteller, Terrence Kennedy.
  • Also, for branch members attending, a very brief portion of the evening will be to hold our Annual General Meeting.


November  2014 – “Taking Flight”
  • A representative from The Canadian Historical Aircraft Association speaks about the Air Training Program at Windsor Airport during World War II.  Did you have relatives in this program?  Join us to learn more.
October 2014 -“The Enrolled Pensioners of Amherstburg”
  • Speaker:  Debra Honor
  • “During the 1850s the British government did not need as many soldiers to protect her empire. So the government came up with a plan to have old soldiers with good conduct be settled in areas of the colonies where they might be needed to defend the settlers. Some plans failed but the one in Amherstburg and Penetanguishene were successful.  Why?”  This presentation answers that question.
September  2014:  35th ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE !
  • Whether you are new to family history or a seasoned researcher, we hope you will join us to discuss family history research, tour our library collection, hear about the branch history and our plans for the future, meet other members of our branch, other branches and other Essex County family history driven organizations, and of course enjoy some cake and good company!
  • NOTE:  Meetings are video recorded for the benefit of  members who are unable to attend meetings.  These videos are available for members to view from our Member’s Only Site.

Other Local Branches:

KENT BRANCH – All meetings will be held at St. Andrews Residence, 99 Park Ave., Chatham at 7:00 P.M (Friday nights). Visit Kent Branch Website

LAMBTON BRANCH – All meetings are held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1400 Murphy Rd., Sarnia at 7:30 P.M.  Visit Lambton Branch Website

Some branches stream meetings online so anyone can ‘attend’ from a distance.  Check the OGS Calendar for links to these meetings.


Other Association meetings: Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, (HEIRS) Membership meets monthly, on the fourth Thursday, excluding June, July, August, and December. The meetings are held in the Community Room, Harrow and Colchester South Community Centre, Arena Building, at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise stated. The public is welcome.