KPL Genealogy Fair 2016

Full steam ahead for Kitchener Public Library’s 5th Genealogy Fair!

Kitchener Public Library 5th Genealogy Fair

KPL 5th Genealogy Fair – Saturday 5 November 2016, Central Library

The countdown to Kitchener Public Library’s 5th Genealogy Fair begins!  Please join us on Saturday 5 November 2016, from 9am to 3:30pm, at the Central Library for  learning, fun, and hopefully, a few found ancestors! It’s a free event and no registration is required!

Our list of speakers and participating exhibitors and vendors is now up! The schedule of workshops will be posted in October.

Jen Baldwin of FindMyPast will be our keynote speaker. She’ll be speaking on genealogy’s next generation and how genealogists of all ages can connect through a common passion for family history, preservation of the past and learning from one another.

We will update the Genealogy Fair webpage with new information and changes, so check back often!

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday 5 November 2016!

Cheers, Karen


KPL Genealogy Fair 2015

Well, that was a blast!

P8000 Falls-Brown Wedding party, 1916

P8000 WHS Falls-Brown Wedding party, 1916, on the front porch of Nith Grove (Brown family farm), south of Haysville, Wilmot Township.

I can hardly believe that the KPL Genealogy Fair has come and gone. After months of planning, meetings, emails, floor plans, run-throughs and last minute printing, the Genealogy Fair happened this past Saturday at Central Library. And what a day it was…

Lynn Palermo inspired and motivated us all to tell our family histories now before it’s too late. As I remarked after her keynote, I had the feeling that she had been watching my family history blog languish, untouched, for the past year. (Honestly, I’ve been busy!). But I have new resolve to get back to sharing my research, making each ancestor come alive.   Thank you, Lynne, for your wonderful words and inspiration.

To our speakers, a big thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise and skills with our fair attendees. I know that each of you helped someone along in their genealogical journey that day. The smiles and laughter coming room each of the meeting rooms was a tell-tale sign!

The fair could not have come off without the support and generosity of our exhibitors and vendors. They were enthusiastic, friendly and energizing. To everyone who came out to support the Library, thank you!

And, thank you to everyone who took the time to come down to explore, learn, share and discover at the Genealogy Fair! Your kind words, friendliness and enthusiasm made my day.

And to my colleagues, Sheila, Dale, Charlotte, Stephanie, Bryan, Karen, Karen (yes, we come in multiples!), Ingrid, Valerie, Berkeley, Shawn – and the staff of Information Services, you all have my heart-felt gratitude. It could not have been done without you.

As this was our first year in a new space at the Central Library, we’d love to hear from you about ideas to improve and make the fair better. We are hoping that a new cafe will be opened in the coming year at Central, which will be a very welcome addition. Do you have suggestions for speakers or workshop topics? Please let us know! We’d love to hear from you via the Contact form!

Cheers, K.

KPL Genealogy Fair 2015

Save the Date for the KPL Genealogy Fair!

April 25

Friday, Looking so grey outside DSCF2879 photo by Flickr user tomylees . Used under Creative Commons – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

Drum roll please!

Mark your calendars for the next KPL Genealogy Fair – it’s going to be held on Saturday April 25, 2015 at the Central Library!

Stay tuned for an announcement about the keynote speaker! I know that you’ll be pleased. It’s been so difficult keeping this secret!

Cheers, Karen


Canadian Naturalization Records

Armenian Boys Farm, 1925

Armenian Boys’ Farm, Georgetown, ON 1925 – Immigration Branch, Library & Archives Canada, PA-147572

Researching an ancestor who came to Canada from 1915-1951 from a non-British Commonwealth country? You might find the Library and Archives Canada’s naturalization records database 1915-1951  of some help. While it is not a fully digitized database, references on the digitized lists can be used to request copies of naturalization records, which are held by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Happy Searching!


Cousin confusion

Cousins, Nanoose Bay, Parksville, BC (author's personal collection)

Cousins, Nanoose Bay, Parksville, British Columbia, 1968 (author’s personal collection)

Do you stumble over how to define cousin relationships in your family?  In the past, I tended to refer to anyone related by blood, beyond my first cousins, as my ‘distant cousin’.  As my family history research has grown to include several generations, knowing how to define a cousin relationship has helped me to understand the relationships between generations and to keep everybody straight in my own mind and in my family history notes.

A cousin is a person with whom one shares one or more common ancestors. First cousins share at least one common grandparent, second cousins share at least one common great-grandparent, third cousins share at least one common great-great grandparent and so on.  The tricky bit comes in with the ‘once removed’ or ‘twice removed’ labels.  When cousins are ‘removed’, it indicates that two people are from different generations – ‘once removed’ is one generation apart, ‘twice removed’ is two generations apart, etc.  For example, my (first) cousin’s children are my first cousins once removed. Similarly, my Dad’s first cousin would be my first cousin once removed.  Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter  has a great short article on how to define cousins, along with a simple table to look up relationships.

Oh, and that’s me on the far left.


Welcome to Historically Speaking

P9281 (KPL Collection) of King Street West, Berlin, 1912-1916, from intersection of Benton and Frederick Sts.

 Welcome to our new blog, Historically Speaking. I’m Karen Ball-Pyatt. I am the Local History Librarian at the Kitchener Public Library and I’ve been helping people connect to their ancestors and this community since 2006.  Each day in the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History has been an amazing adventure – and I would like to take you on this journey.

In this blog, I will share my discoveries as I navigate my way through the collection and meet with the fascinating people that make up our community – past and present.  This blog will also be a place to share news about programs, services and community events about local heritage and genealogy.

Naturally, I am interested in exploring my own family history too! I will share some stories from my family tree, as well as insights (perhaps more aptly termed “A-Ha” moments) while researching and writing.

I hope that you will join me on this journey – your comments are welcome! Our Terms of Use will help guide you in communicating with us on the blog. Tell me what you are interested in, and do drop by again!