Obituary Indexing Project, Programs

Undertakers Uncovered

Schreiter's Funeral Home, Kitchener, ON

Interior view of Schreiter’s Funeral Home in Kitchener, ON

Ever wonder about undertakers? Marion Roes does. Undertaking is in her blood – literally.  As the granddaughter of Elmira undertaker, Christian Dreisinger, Marion grew up in and around the family’s funeral business. She’s been “uncovering undertakers” and their businesses  which are “buried” in records like directories, obituaries, assessment records, and newspapers. She is “Sherlock Roes” – solving history mysteries about undertaking and the men and women who help guide us through the rituals, ceremonies and details of death.

Come join us on Wednesday 29 November 2017 at the Forest Heights Branch at 7pm for Marion’s talk on “Uncovering Waterloo County’s Undertakers”.  Marion will highlight the searches that she’s done in area archives and libraries, including the Grace Schmidt Room and Cambridge City Archives. She’ll also look at the undertakers and their different places or work/business throughout the Region.

Curious to know where was the only coffin factory in Waterloo County located?

Wonder if there were there really two different undertakers named Robert James Kerr?

Puzzled why would a barber have an undertakers’ licence for many years – and not have an undertaking business?

Dying to know? Well then, you will have to join us!

Marion’s talk, in support of the GSR’s Obituary Indexing Project, is free, but registration is required. Register online here or call InfoLink (519-743-7502) or the branch directly (519-743-0644), during library hours, and staff can sign you up.

The Forest Heights Library is located at 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener. Parking is free.

See you there!

Cheers, Karen

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Remembrance, Soldier Information Card Project

Remember Them

P002134 William John Parker

P002134 William John Parker

On this day in 1918, the guns fell silent at the 11th hour. The “Great War to End All Wars” had ended. Despite the horror, carnage and loss of  a generation of its young, Canada would answer the call again, in 1939, in 1950 in Korea, and in many places around the world in the years following, to defend the values and beliefs that we held so dear.

Today, we stop at 11am to remember them – to vicariously live in the moment when the gunfire stopped, to feel the sharp and deep pain of loss, to reflect on the sacrifice of generations of men and women who forfeited their youth, health and happiness, and in many instances, their lives, to defend values that we hold dear; and to thank them for their service – in conflicts and peacekeeping in years past, present and future.

Remember them, not only today, but always.

Visit our Waterloo County Soldier Portrait Collection here.

Visit our World War I Soldier Information Collection here.

Regards, Karen

 

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KPL Genealogy Fair 2018

Drum Roll Please! Announcing KPL’s 6th Annual Genealogy Fair Keynote Speaker

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Mags Gaulden, 2018 Keynote Speaker, KPL 6th Annual Genealogy Fair

I am very happy to announce that Mags Gaulden of Grandma’s Genes (www.grandmasgenes.com) will be our keynote speaker at KPL’s 6th Annual Genealogy Fair!   Mags is a professional genealogist and co-founder of Grandma’s Genes, based in Ottawa. She specializes in genetic genealogy, working with people who want to further their family knowledge using DNA – the newest frontier in genealogy research and family tree building. Having grown up surrounded by family historians, Mags was primed to become a genealogist. Following her graduation from Columbia College,  she began to work her own genealogy as a “hobby”.  Her “hobby” eventually led her to a leader role with WikiTree where she currently leads the DNA Project as well as, The Canadian History, Ontario and British Columbia, United Empire Loyalist, British Home Children, US Southern Colonies  and First Peoples of the World projects. She is the group administrator for the WikiTree and Global Family Reunion DNA and The McElmoyle Family Tree DNA Projects.

Remember to mark your calendars for the KPL Genealogy Fair being held on Saturday 21 April 2018 at the Central Library, 85 Queen Street North, Kitchener!

Applications for speakers, exhibitors and vendors will be going out next week. If you would like to receive an application, please email us at genealogyfair@kpl.org and we’ll get one to you!

Hope to see you there!

Cheers, Karen

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Genealogy Fair 2018

Save the Date for the KPL Genealogy Fair!

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Can I have a drum roll, please?…

Calling all genealogy enthusiasts!

Please save Saturday 21 April 2018 for the KPL Genealogy Fair!

We are happy to announce that the KPL Genealogy Fair will be held at the Central Library on Saturday 21 April 2018. Join us for a day of genealogy learning, sharing and networking! We have a great keynote speaker coming (stay tuned for more news!) and are organizing amazing workshops and recruiting interesting exhibitors for your genealogy research and interests.

If you or your genealogy group would like to be a part of this fantastic day, drop me a line at genealogyfair@kpl.org and we’ll get you on our mailing list.

Cheers, Karen

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Obituary Indexing Project, Programs

Remembering Mary Johnston

Waterloo County Hall of Fame Induction for Kathryn Lamb, May 2001

Left to right: Susan Hoffman, Kathryn Lamb and Mary Johnston, at Kathryn’s May 2001 Waterloo County Hall of Fame Induction

On Sunday, I heard from my Waterloo Historical Society colleagues that Mary Johnston had passed away on Friday July 7th.  Mary was a legendary character – sharp witted, talented, professional and caring. She was an acclaimed educator and principal, who had a public school named after her in Waterloo, a past Waterloo Historical Society president and a familiar face at WHS and other heritage events. But most importantly to me, she was a friend.

While I had not known her for a long time, she was that kind and gentle soul that made you feel at ease. Being very much taller than me, Mary was someone I looked up to literally and figuratively. In the past couple of years, she would drop in or all to say hello or to ask a question about a historical fact or event. I will miss her kind words of encouragement and upbeat personality. She could put a smile on anyone.

My first memory of Mary was meeting her at Heritage Showcase many years ago and then being told that she wanted to take a picture. Mary traveled with her trusty film camera, well into the day and age of digital technology. At each heritage event, Mary requested a photo of everyone and set about grouping us together. She would take her photos and a month or two later, an envelope would arrive with a couple of images of yourself at a recent event. Mary made history herself and captured it for the rest of us. Those photos are even now more special to me now that she is gone.

Remembering and honouring the life of friends and family is something that writer, Valerie Hill, does with elegance and honesty. Valerie writes the popular Lifetimes column in the Waterloo Region Record. I admit to being a habitual obituary reader and the appearance of Valerie`s column, for me and many others, is a must read. Lifetimes allows me to learn about the real person – not just the facts of death, family and employment that one finds in an obituary.

Valerie will be speaking about the Fine Art of the Obituary at the Central Library on Monday July 17, 2017 at 7pm. We are pleased to have her as our first speaker associated with our Grace Schmidt Room Obituary Indexing Project.  Please join us to learn about the unique challenges in writing about life and death, memory and loved ones. You can register for the event here or call 519-743-7502, during Library hours, to reserve your seat for the talk.

Cheers, Karen

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People and places

The Grace Schmidt Room Is Now Complete

Susan Hoffman portrait in the Grace Schmidt Room

Portrait of Susan Hoffman in the Grace Schmidt Room

When we moved into our new Grace Schmidt Room (GSR) in May 2014, I always knew that the room never felt complete. With the frequent construction related moves, unpacking, re-organizing, new projects, new equipment and technologies to incorporate, staff, customers and general library life, there was one thing that was missing – a portrait of Susan Hoffman.

Susan was the first Grace Schmidt Room Librarian at the Kitchener Public Library. She is responsible for the collection and services we offer today.  She worked tirelessly developing the local history and genealogy collection and related services, which were launched on 14 October 1984 and continued that work until her retirement in late July 2006.

She was my mentor and role model. Happily, we have remained friends since her retirement in 2006 and keep in touch.  I miss her dearly – her humour, insights, encyclopedic knowledge of the collection, and quick wit made working together in my early days as a librarian so very special.

It`s taken me a while, but I`m pleased to announce that Susan Hoffman`s portrait is in the Grace Schmidt Room. While a framed portrait will never replace the time we spent working together, it reminds me daily of her professionalism, dedication and legacy – which is evident in all that we do and strive to achieve.

Susan is back in the GSR. And the Grace Schmidt Room is complete.

Portraits in the Grace Schmidt Room - Mabel Dunham, Grace Schmidt and Susan Hoffman

Portraits in the Grace Schmidt Room  (left to right) Mabel Dunham, Grace Schmidt and Susan Hoffman

Cheers, Karen

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Digitized Directories Project

Digitized Historical Directories for Waterloo County Now Going Online!

Historical Directories

Grace Schmidt Room Historical Directories

I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Grace Schmidt Room Directories Digitization Project webpage! We’ve started the upload of digitized historical directories for Waterloo County with many more to come.

Thanks go to the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and the Waterloo Region Branch – The Ontario Genealogical Society for their financial support of this project. Volunteer support from Waterloo Region Branch OGS members, Darryl Bonk, Marion Roes and Jon Fear, in memory of local genealogist, Norma Huber, made this project possible. Their countless hours scanning, proof-reading and preparing the digital files was truly amazing. Thanks also to my colleague, Gary Bauman, for his work in making the project accessible to all.

Check back often as this collection grows!

Cheers, Karen

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