Tuesday, January 17, 2017

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) was founded in 1994. The organization encourages "family history research and its dissemination by people with ancestry in the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands)."[1] BIFHSGO is one of the largest Canadian genealogy organizations and has a library, online databases, and multiple monthly meetings. Each year they host a very highly regarded conference.

The organization works in collaboration with the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society to run an Irish Research Group. The group meets every fourth Tuesday of the month (except June, July, August and December) at 7.30 pm at the McNabb Community Centre, Craft Room, 180 Percy Street, Ottawa. BIFHSGO's Brian O'Regan Memorial Library has a large selection of publications concerning Irish genealogy and they have a full catalog online.

BIFHSGO has published Anglo-Celtic Roots since 1995. Editions from 1995 to 2015 are available to read on their website. Below you will find a table of articles that focus on Irish related genealogy research in Canada. Anglo-Celtic Roots contains many interesting articles about Canadian records, resources and personal testimonies about family history research. I encourage you to peruse the article titles to see if any can help with your research.

Article Title
Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial Historic Site
An Irish Fling: Delightful Discoveries! Part II
An Irish Fling: Delightful Discoveries! Part I
Unravelling the Mystery of the Mathews of Sligo
The Irish in Osgoode Township
Southeastern Ireland Names in Canada
Monaghan, Cavan and Louth Names in Canada
I Found My Irish Ancestry in Canada

In the internet age, joining a genealogy society or organization is often overlooked as a way to help further your research, particularly by those who come to genealogy via online records and DNA tests. If you're tracing ancestors in Canada, and particularly the Ottawa region or in Ontario, then BIFHSGO seems like an organization worth being a member of.

EDIT 17 January 2016
Barbara Tose, President of BIFHSGO, was in touch to offer a correction and helpful updates.

In 2015 we found ourselves without a librarian and, after much deliberation, decided to give our library to the Ontario Genealogical Society-Ottawa Branch (OGS-OB). They are currently in the process of amalgamating our collection with theirs. So the Brian O'Regan Memorial Library no longer exists but the resources are still available at the City of Ottawa Archives under the Ottawa Branch's library. We continue to work with OGS-OB and support the library through donations of books and other resources as well as providing volunteers to assist the OGS-OB librarian, Grace Lewis. For the moment our catalogue, as it was in December 2015, is still available online. However, once the amalgamation is complete this will be removed as it will no longer be accurate for locating resources. However, the OGS-OB has their catalogue online and it can be searched using keywords (http://ogsottawa.on.ca/libsearch/).
I would also like to mention that we do hold monthly meetings for anyone in the area on the second Saturday of every month between September and June. A short educational program runs from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. followed by a half hour break when people can socialize and peruse a variety of "Discovery Tables". The main meeting with a lecture of about an hour starts at 10:00 a.m. These meetings are open to the public and we welcome visitors from out of town. The program for these meetings can be found on our webpage (http://www.bifhsgo.ca/eventListings.php?nm=127).
And finally, our conference this year will be taking place Sept. 29-Oct. 1 and will focus on English and Welsh family history and Methodology/Evidence Analysis. Next year's focus will be Scotland and Ireland will be the focus for 2019.

[1] British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. About our Society. 2017. British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (http://www.bifhsgo.ca/about.php): accessed 8 January 2017.


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