British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
23rd Annual BIFHSGO
Family History Conference
September 29 – October 1, 2017
England and Wales
Research Methodology
In partnership with Ottawa Public Library and City of Ottawa Archives
Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa
Our Conference Brochure provides a quick overview of all lectures, seminars, and speakers.
Take advantage of our Early Bird conference fee before 24:00 EDT August 18, 2017.
BIFHSGO Members:
To take advantage of the BIFHSGO members-only registration rate, you must first log into
Members Only and click on the link found there.

Discover the different ways you can attend our conference:
Learn more about the conference by clicking on these links:

For more information about registration, contact the Conference Registrar at or by telephone at 613-226-8096.

Conference Program - Friday, Sept. 29

The Friday evening program is open to all conference registrants.
17:00–19:00        Marketplace and Registration Open
19:00–19:15        Official Welcome in The Chamber
                            Representatives from BIFHSGO, the City of Ottawa Archives, and the Ottawa
                            Public Library
19:15–20:15        Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture 
Another Bloody Englishman! Britannia in Red Surge, 1873–1920
When we think of the Mounted Police, Canadians often view the men and women in red serge as the epitome of Canada. In a historical context, Mounties are almost always associated with bringing law and order to the western plains, with the Klondike gold rush, or with Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. Yet, by 1914, over 75 percent of the members of the force were British-born, a reflection of Canada’s population at the time and the massive immigration from the United Kingdom prior to the Great War.
The Mounted Police did not rely on immigration for members. Instead, they actively recruited suitable men in Britain, especially ex-military and police personnel. They were not all heroes, however, and through a series of short vignettes, Glenn will tell the stories of the rogues, the Cockneys, the titled, the brave and the not-so-brave who forged the Mounted Police into an iconic image of our country.
20:15–21:30    Reception: Dessert and Coffee
The Friday morning and afternoon seminars require separate registration and fees 
on the registration form

Conference Program - Saturday, Sept. 30

08:00                    Registration Opens
08:00–17:00         Marketplace Open
09:00–16:00         Genealogy Research Room Open: Free access to online genealogy databases.
                             Bring a USB flash drive to save your findings.
Click on the speaker's name to view their biography.
09:00-10:15         Session 1 Plenary 
Beyond All Resonable Doubt
This lecture will deal with accurate source citation and record keeping: the importance of preparing summaries and action plans, and of proving the information to the Verified Pedigree Level,* if possible. This entails assessing the record’s credibility, avoiding the temptation to make assumptions, accepting that no record is perfect, and keeping an informed yet open mind when researching. Celia will also discuss lesser-used, alternate and early sources for family history.
*The VPL is similar to the Genealogy Proof Standard, but adds that at least two forms of independent documentary evidence should be sought to confirm each individual’s parentage.
10:15–10:45         Break and Browse the Marketplace
10:45–12:00         Session 2 Concurrent Lectures
Buried Treasures: The Parish Chest
Paul will discuss all the Church of England records created when the church operates in its civil capacity, taking care of the local people, and explain how to access these records. These are the sources needed to solve many dead ends in English research, solving problems of population movement, illegitimacy, and occupation. They include settlement and removal records, overseer’s accounts, bastardy records, apprenticeship records, and such miscellaneous sources as vestry minutes, churchwarden accounts and militia registers. 
Working with Sources
This presentation will examine the types of sources typically used in genealogy. Each source type has its own pros and cons, its own context and biases. Each was created for a specific reason and for a specific audience; these will be discussed in relation to such sources as censuses, religious records and official data registrations. Other sources touched on will include newspapers, court records, and city directories. The emphasis will be on Canadian and British sources, and Gillian will underscore the contexts for their creation and the ways in which they can be used or not be used for genealogy.
12:00–13:30          Lunch Break
13:30–14:45          Session 3 Concurrent Lectures
Researching in English and Welsh Record Offices
While many English and Welsh records are online, a far greater number are not; if you live overseas finding out what is available and accessing those documents can understandably be difficult. Celia will provide an overview of the English and Welsh record office systems, and will also explain how to get the most from a personal research trip to England or Wales and what to do if you are not able to make the journey in person.
Copyright for the Genealogist
This talk will cover the basics of copyright, the meaning of public domain, copyright in your own work, using copyright material of others in your research or presentations, and copyright in family photos and letters.
14:45–15:15         Break and Browse the Marketplace
15:15–16:30         Session 4 Concurrent Lectures
Occupational, Guild and Freedmen Records
Paul will examine sources for identifying your ancestors’ occupations: trade directories, apprenticeship and guild records, and freedmen registers. He will also look specifically at sources for information about the occupations or trades and will conclude with some resources to help put your ancestors into context.
Genealogy and the Age of Shakespeare
Four hundred years after the death of Shakespeare we stand to be the beneficiaries of many substantial improvements in access to sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century records of great interest to family historians. As well as giving a solid review of new and important developments, James will cover recommended resources for mastering secretary hand and discuss what implications the new generation of cutting-edge SNP-based Y-DNA tests, and even advances in the field of population genetics, may come to have for researching inhabitants of England and Wales in the age of Shakespeare.
17:30                   Informal pay-as-you-go Saturday evening dinner at the nearby
                            Summerhays Grill, 1971 Baseline Rd.
                            Sign up before Saturday noon at the Conference Welcome Desk.

Conference Program - Sunday Oct. 1

08:00                    Registration Opens
08:00–15:30         Marketplace Open
09:00–15:00         Genealogy Research Room Open: Free access to online genealogy databases.
                             Bring a USB flash drive to save your findings.
09:00–10:15         Session 5 Concurrent Lectures
Finding Your Pre-WW I Soldier
Different records are created for officers and enlisted men in the British Army. Paul will use case studies to trace the involvement of officers and enlisted men in different military theatres around the world, during different periods, including the War of 1812. Putting the soldier into a British and global perspective, he will explain the structure and development of the British Army and also show what original records and supporting materials are available online, at The National Archives in London and at other repositories.
Using Death Records in Family History
Death records often reveal previously undiscovered information about ancestors that can help you learn more about their lives, which in turn may lead you to break down genealogical brick walls. Celia will look at a range of death records—from the well-known to the less familiar—and show how they can be used to further your family tree.
10:15–10:45          Break and Browse the Marketplace
10:45–12:00          Session 6 Concurrent Lectures
The English Probate System
This talk will deal with how the probate system operated in England and Wales (pre- and post-1858) and how you can identify in which court an ancestor's estate may have been probated. Covering both pre-1858 and post-1858 records, Paul will discuss some new online indexes and document imaging systems and also explain what probate documents may be available on film or as originals and how to access them.
Historical Newspapers
Having noticed that all his recent breakthroughs, some decades old, have newly digitized historical newspapers in common, James will describe what makes newspapers peerlessly exciting resources for genealogists; check in with the British Newspaper Archive and other digitization projects; suggest how to identify and access non-digitized titles and issues; promote some surprisingly useful but under-appreciated titles; and offer search tips and strategies for taking advantage of this spectacular new dawn of historical newspaper research.
12:00–13:30         Lunch Break
13:30–14:45          Session 7 Concurrent Lectures
I've Lost My Ancestor before 1837
The year 1837 is the point beyond which both civil registration and census records—the mainstays of the family historian’s initial research—are no longer available. Celia will look at the potential problems of researching before 1837 and the ways to keep on the right track: tracing the correct family line by making full use of the clues in records you already have and other sources that might provide further leads to a firm identification. She will also examine some valuable modern-day online genealogy resources and how best to use them.
The Kemeys-Tynte Family of Cefn Mably
The Kemeys and later Kemeys-Tynte family, whose roots went back to the the Norman conquest, the ancient Welsh gentry and the dissolution of the monasteries, became one of the most prominent families in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, with a great house named Cefn Mably. David, whose grandmother was born at Cefn Mably and whose great-grandmother was nursemaid to the Kemeys-Tyntes, has thoroughly researched the scattered records of this largely forgotten family.
15:15–16:30         Session 8 Plenary 
My God, Nobody Told Me
This talk will motivate and encourage you to reflect upon what messages your ancestors left behind and, just as importantly, to get you thinking about what you are leaving behind for your descendants. Will your descendants be saying, “My God, nobody told me!”?
16:30–16:45        Conference Closing – and door prizes!

Cancellation Policy

There is a $25 cancellation fee until Friday, September 22. After midnight that date, there are no refunds.
All requests for cancellation or other changes to your conference registration must be made to the Conference Registrar.