Family History Presentations

Essex County Branch hosts monthly Speaker Presentations, held the 2nd Monday of the month (unless otherwise noted – e.g. around holiday weekends). No meetings in July, August, & December.

Location:  Meetings take place at the Central Branch of the Windsor Public LibraryLower Level , 850 Ouellette Ave, Windsor, Ontario. Convenient parking in the city Pay and Display lot behind the library on Dufferin (free after 6pm). Starting September 2019, EssexOA speaker presentations will be at Maryvale (Prince Road and College Ave – enter off College).

Time7:00 pm, (doors open at 6:15) for the months of  Mar, Apr, May,  The June event will be a road trip to the Burton Collection, DPL on Woodward – June 1st 10:30am. Starting in Sept 2019 and all 2020, speaker presentations will start at 6:30pm (doors open at 6) at Maryvale (Prince Road & College).

Doors open at least 30 minutes prior to presentations for meet and greet.

ALL Visitors & Members are welcome and encouraged to attend!  No preregistration is required.

Recording our presentations is done in an effort to reach our distant members and members who are unable to attend in person.  Since we are all volunteers with varying technical skills, we work hard to offer a quality recording, however technology and equipment does not always cooperate. We do appreciate your patience and support.

Recording the presentations is done with the speakers’ permission and may not include archiving the video.

Visit our Essex Branch YouTube Channel to view available videos.

What’s coming up?

Monday, March 11, 2019, 6:30pm doors open.

Dan Fantone 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.

April 8th, 2019 (doors open at 6:30), the Tilbury and District Historical Society (TDHS) will be providing information on their family history collection.

Monday, May 13, 2019, 6:30pm doors open. Presentation at 7pm.

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.

Saturday, June 1, 2019, 10:30am.

Join us at the Detroit Public Library for a tour and presentation about the Detroit Society of Genealogical Research (DSGR) and their collection. More details to follow closer to June.

Past Presentations

Past presentations that were streamed or recorded are available to view here:  Essex Branch YouTube Channel


September 2018 – Fur Trade in Essex County

Monday, September 10, 6 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm)

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!

Monday, September 24, 6:30 pm – 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.

October 9, 2018, 7 pm – French Perseverance in the Detroit River Region

Note: Tuesday due to Thanksgiving Holiday – doors open at 6:30 pm

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

April 2018 – Road Trip to ECHRS

Monday, April 9, 6 pm

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

Monday, March 12, 7 pm

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” presented by Guylaine Petrin

Monday, February 12, 7 pm

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

Monday, January 8, 7 pm

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

Saturday, November 18, 1-3 pm 

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

Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm 

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

Monday, September 11, 6 pm 

Join us for a presentation about The Windsor Public Libary’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

Monday, June 12, 6 pm 

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

Saturday, May 6, 2017 – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

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

Not sure how to get there?  See this map provided by the RFPO: Map to RFPO

April 2017 Using Google for Family History

Monday, April 10, 7 pm – Speaker: Colleen L’Abbe

Join us to learn tips and tricks for using Google in your family history research.

March 2017 – Cancelled because of bad weather.  Rescheduled to June 2017.

February 18, 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 – 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

Map to Comber & District Historical Museum

June  2016Sandra 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 2016Debra Honor

Cross Border Families.  Family history research that transcends borders.

April  2016Cathy Knight

Join us to learn about ‘dit names’, frequently encountered and often confusing for many in french family history research.

March 2016Goldie 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 2016Author 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 2016Presentation 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.

Monday, November 9, 2015 – “We Will Remember” with 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.

Everyone Welcome!

If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch online–just click below:

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.

Everyone Welcome!

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.

Everyone Welcome!

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.

Everyone Welcome!

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 (note day change – TUESDAY, 7 pm) -“The Enrolled Pensioners of Amherstburg”.  “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?” RESEARCHER: Seasoned speaker Debra Honor.

September  2014 – (note time change – 6:00 P.M.) 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).

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

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.