It’s a wrap! Another Successful KPL Genealogy Fair

KPL 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair - 2 Nov 2013

KPL 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair – 2 Nov 2013

Database table at KPL 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair - 2 Nov 2013

Database table at KPL 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair – 2 Nov 2013

Well, it’s come and gone… the KPL Genealogy Fair that is! We had another great fair this year – made successful by you, our attendees, and the participation of our wonderful speakers, exhibitors, and vendors.  It’s been an amazing experience to work with someone like Carolyn Blackstock, who has to be one of the most passionate heritage and genealogy enthusiasts that I have had the pleasure to meet.  Our speakers, Dr. Margaret Ann Wilkinson, Claire Nabrotzky, Dr. David Elliott, Amanda Hill, Ruth Burkholder, Melissa Ellis, Sue Fenn, Noel Elliot, Bernadette Hardaker, Linda Corupe, Rick Roberts, and Jane MacNamara, entertained and informed their audiences.

Many thanks go out to MyHeritage, Findmypast.com, and Ancestry.ca for allowing us to share their databases at the fair and for giving attendees a peek into the rich resources that their products offer. To all of the Ontario Genealogical Society Provincial Office and branches, libraries and archives, and vendors such as Global Genealogy and CD Archive Canada, I want to offer thanks, on behalf of myself and the Marketing & Communications Department,  for your time, generosity and expertise that you gave to us. We could not have done it without you!

And to the Karens (yes, there are a few of us at the Library), Valerie, Emily, Dale, Stephanie, Paul, Sheila, Dave, Shane and all of our KPL volunteers – you guys rock! Your hard work, friendly smiles and expertise made the day.

We are posting speaker presentations as they are made available to us on the KPL Genealogy Fair page. If their presentation is available, a link will appear beneath their entry in the list of speakers.

What did you think of this year’s KPL Genealogy Fair? I’d love to know!

Guest Posts

Genealogy in a Community Cookbook – guest post by Carolyn Blackstock

Carolyn Blackstock (Image courtesy of the Waterloo Region Record)

Carolyn Blackstock
(Image courtesy of the Waterloo Region Record)

I was introduced to genealogy by the principal of my elementary school. He had each grade eight student attempt to create their family tree and I’m grateful because that assignment meant I sat and listened to the stories of my relatives. Some of those people were gone just a few years later. Although I didn’t return to genealogical research for many years, this assignment captured my mother’s attention and she has been compiling our tree for the past thirty-five years! Listening to stories about my ancestors reinforced my love of history and I’ve been delving into the documentary treasure trove contained in archives and museums for more than thirty years.

We are very fortunate in Waterloo Region to have so many historic places and archives. The staff of the Grace Schmidt Room at the Kitchener Public Library have been a tremendous help to me while researching the various contributors to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. They have located pictures and information that makes these women and men come to life for me. Among the many documents available at the Grace Schmidt Room is one of my favourites – a petition signed in 1906 by students of the Berlin High School asking for a holiday. In my search for information about the world of the recipe contributors I’ve examined microfilmed newspapers, family genealogies, and church histories, accessed Ancestry for free, and even handled another copy of the Berlin Cook Book, all with the help of the Grace Schmidt Room. I also met other researchers there who suggested resources and gave me ideas. The generosity of genealogists and archivists is amazing.

Visit the Kitchener Public Library Genealogy Fair this Saturday at 10:00am for my keynote address where I’ll explain the connection between a community cookbook and genealogy. The fair includes all sorts of informative workshops and information tables to help us continue the family tree journey.


Where there’s a Will, There’s a Way

Will of John Ball, Tailor of South Molton, Devon, 1853

Will of John Ball, Tailor of South Molton, Devon, 1853

If you are like me, you are eager to draw out as many genealogical clues from the family history documents that you have gathered. I’ve always been fascinated by wills – the objects the deceased left for others, the reasons why, and more importantly, who is not named in the will. My 3x-great-grandfather,  John Ball, a tailor from South Molton, Devon, England, died in 1855 and left his property and earthly belongings to his wife and children. Curiously, he named his second eldest and unmarried daughter, Elizabeth, as his executrix, bypassing his eldest and married daughter and older unmarried son.  He also left a small inheritance to his grandchildren, the son and daughter of Elizabeth.   While I’m still untangling the details of this family dynamic, I’ve always wondered about how the courts processed estates and what further information I can glean from the will – that is if I can decipher the handwriting! I hadn’t known about Elizabeth’s children until I saw them in the will.

Jane MacNamara, blogger of Where the Journey Takes Me and author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and Other Record for Family Historians, will be giving a talk on the topic of Ontario Wills and Estate Files at the upcoming KPL Genealogy Fair. She’ll help you navigate the family connections and relationships in wills and estate files and how to locate these documents in local archives and courts in Ontario.

Speaking of the Genealogy Fair, there is a Facebook event page now online.


New KPL Genealogy Fair Page


I am happy to let everyone know that the updated KPL 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair information page is now online.  Please check out the schedule of speakers, list of exhibitors and vendors and other details for the day here . It’s going to be another interesting and fun-filled day.

I have many great memories of the first two fairs – attendees who broke through brick walls with the help of our exhibitors and experts, a speaker who met a long-lost family friend at the fair and, for me, meeting a genealogy enthusiast who had travelled from St. Louis, Missouri to join us!

What has been your best memory of previous KPL genealogy fairs? I’d love to hear from you!


KPL’s 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair Countdown


The countdown to KPL’s 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair has begun! Now only a month away, the Genealogy Fair looks to be another exciting and fun filled event.  Everyone, from novice to seasoned genealogist, is welcome to attend.  This is a free event and no registration is required. Come and talk with local libraries and archives, genealogy societies, and other genealogy enthusiasts! Attend workshops and lectures at no charge! Visit with our genealogy book and supplies vendors! Search genealogy databases to find your ancestors!

The fair is being held at Kitchener City Hall, (200 King Street W., Kitchener, ON N2G 4G7) on Saturday 2 November 2013. Doors open at 9:30am.  Carolyn Blackstock, creator of the 366 Days with the Berlin Cook Book blog is our keynote speaker and kicks off our day with her presentation, “Genealogy in a Community Cookbook”, at 10am in the rotunda.  Workshops will start following Carolyn’s talk.

Wondering how to plan your day? No worries, we’ll have the schedule of speakers posted on the Library’s website next week.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the fair!