Genealogy Boot Camp for Librarians

Presented by the Ontario Library Association in conjunction with the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2016

Are you looking to improve your genealogy research skills? Do you have patrons who are interested in researching their family histories? Then please join us for this practical, hands-on and in-depth full day workshop designed to improve your genealogy research skills and introduce you to expert family history search techniques.

International Plaza Hotel, 655 Dixon Road

$150 for Members of OLA, OGS and partner organizations*
$200 for Non members
The registration fee covers workshops, handouts, refreshments at breaks and door prizes. Lunch is not included.



9:15 am to 10:00 am
Morning Keynote Speaker – Carolyn Abraham
Author of the lauded book The Juggler’s Children, Carolyn Abraham will reflect upon her own experiences with researching ancestry for her writing. Carolyn’s work has afforded several opportunities for her to try the new medical technologies she writes about, offers to scan her brain and freeze her eggs (though freezing her brain and scanning her eggs sounded more intriguing). But not until it became possible to learn about your ancestry from your own DNA did she decide to take the plunge, personally. That decision set her on a ten-year journey, a story told in The Juggler’s Children, her second book, which has once again been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in Non-fiction.

10:15 am-11:15 am
There is a Genealogist in my Library: What Do I Do?
Speaker: Marian Press
As family history becomes an increasingly popular hobby (just think of all those Ancestry ads!) more and more public librarians with no experience in genealogy are being called upon to offer reference help to their clientele. The problem becomes: how do librarians quickly teach themselves the basics in order to be able to communicate with their public and what resources are readily available to provide the answers genealogists are seeking? This presentation will consider resources for both genealogy and local history, including such topics as: free courses and webinars available to bring librarians up to speed in the field (and that can also be recommended to clients); what free online genealogical and local history resources are there to be tapped; how to build a knowledge base in local genealogy and history; web pages, blogs and social media for genealogy in the public library; and networking with others for help.

11:15 am-12:00 pm
Family Tree Fun Time! Introducing Kids to Genealogy
Speaker: Cate Nicholls, Barrie Public Library
Are you looking for ways to integrate genealogy into your programming for kids & teens? Well look no further, this session will give you some fun and easy takeaways that you can implement in your library. The speaker will take us through a series of programming tips, and we’ll even have some time for hands-on learning!

12:00 pm-12:45 pm Lunch Break

12:45 pm-1:30 pm
Local History Lightning Rounds
This session will be six quick-fire rounds from various Ontario libraries and community partners doing interesting and creative things with their local history collections, researchers and programs. Come and watch as each presenter has 6 minutes and 40 seconds to get through 20 slides. No caffeine necessary, this exciting session will fill you with ideas and energy!
One Story at a Time - Laura Lukasik, Hamilton Public Library
Doors Open at the Archives of Ontario - Jay Young, Archives of Ontario
Bringing Local History to Life - Carole Stuart, Collingwood Public Library
The Rural Diary Archives - Catharine Wilson, University of Guelph

1:30 pm-2:15 pm
Primary Sources: The Habits and Needs of Genealogy Researchers
This session will feature three genealogy researchers discussing how they go about their research and ways that the library has served them well, not to mention a few ways we might improve! Hear directly from these primary sources how our collections are being used and ways that researchers can be better served by our programs.

2:30 pm-3:15 pm
Discovering and Sharing Ontario Genealogy Resources
Speakers: Walter Lewis, Our Digital World
Need to help your local genealogists? Join us for an up-close view of the tools hat bring together more than 200 years of Ontario’s local history via the digital collections portal. See how Birth, Marriage and Death records are brought together with full-page newspapers in the Ontario Community News portal. Along he way, we’ll explore the more than 150 collections that showcase local stories and collections from and about thriving communities and Ontario’s ghost towns. we’ll demonstrate options for crowdsourcing local community knowledge as well as gathering and sharing content with others.  And we’ll also feature tools to take our local history collections (indexes, newspapers, etc) to the world.

3:15 pm-4:30 pm
Stop. Drop. And MARKET.
Speakers: Barbara Myrvold, Toronto Public Library; Shannon Bryan, Belleville Public Library; Gina Coady, Elgin County Library
Come and learn how three different libraries have taken vastly different (yet hugely successful!) approaches to building and marketing their local history collections. We’ll feature the best practices of libraries from small, rural communities, mid-size communities and a large urban system.

More information on the full OGS conference is available on the OGS website.