Ontario Ancestors Conference 2022 The Ontario Genealogical Society Virtual Conference 2022, June 24 – 26, Ottawa
The Ontario Genealogical Society Virtual Conference 2022, June 24 – 26, Ottawa

Who is the Bloginator of the OGS Conference 2022?

Hi! I’m Penny Allen, a family historian (rather than a genealogist), a researcher at heart, a blogger and a wannabe writer. Since I was a teenager I have been curious about our family’s history. Then I read the book Roots by Alex Haley. Long before those impressionable years, it was a trip to Norway to visit my Mom’s long lost uncles that initially planted the seed of Who Am I? Where Do I Come From?

In the beginning of my research journey there was the original Rootsweb Forum, Family Search (Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File and the IGI). PAF, the Personal Ancestral File was a useful tool and would eventually be the granddaddy of family tree software. Searching the Canadian census on microfilm at my local library provided by the National Library of Canada, now Library and Archives Canada. Research visits to the public library to use the books and resources in their Local History Room. Research visits to the local university library where I discovered microfilmed newspapers from around the world. Imagine my surprise to find printed English parish registers on their shelves! Wow!

Online resources in those days were Automated Genealogy, Cyndi’sList, and this insignificant online resource called Ancestry – just put in your name! Have to admit I’ve never had a personal subscription as soon as I found I could use it at my local library. It’s proved to be a great method of forcing you to get up, walk away and take a break. Let’s not forget the Family History Societies websites and their online and in print resources; the Ontario Genealogical Society has been a favourite of mine forever. So yes, I’ve been there done that, bought the T-shirt – I’ve seen a lot of changes.

So why a blog for the OGS Conference 2022?

What is a blog? What is a blogger? Why is a blog useful?

Definition of a blog (as provided by the online Cambridge Dictionary) : ‘a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style’. Weblog: ‘a website on which one person or group puts new information regularly, often every day.’ Vis-à-vis: a blog on the web.

I have been blogging since 2015 and sharing my experience of blogging feels like a natural fit for the Conference and something that I enjoy. My blog highlights resources I’ve found at various libraries and archives as well as participation in online genealogy chats. It quickly became apparent that there was a need to explain about the what, why, where and how to find records for Canadian genealogy. Hence my blog : UK to Canada Genealogy : Linking your UK Ancestors to Canadian Genealogy resources

My personal research interests: Migration to Canada and North America; digging into personal accounts of those emigration stories; assisted emigration of families particularly between the 1890s and into the 1930s. One of my special interests is family history on the Canadian prairies as that is where I spent about a third of my life. Having farmers in the family helps as well. Also I really enjoy being led astray in my family history journey which often times reveals unique resources to share with you, the genealogy community!

Over the years I have volunteered on various committees of one kind or another, genealogy wise and work wise. I have also been on the organizing committee for a few conferences (oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud – LoL). That experience has given me the confidence to step up to the challenge of blogging for the conference.

In 2017, I approached family history societies in Canada to sponsor me at the Who Do You Think You Are Show Live in Birmingham, U.K. Gail Dever of Genealogy à la Carte kindly wrote an article which helped to spread the word. The Ontario Genealogical Society approached me about my offer to represent Canada at WDYTYA, which was particularly to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Soon after, the Drouin Genealogical Institute agreed to a joint sponsorship. It was a huge success! So I felt volunteering is an appropriate way to say Thank You for the opportunity!

So why a blog on the Conference website? The Ontario Genealogical Society Conference Blog will bring you news, tips, great stories, an interview or two and resources to help you with your research.

I wish you all an informative, fun and enjoyable conference!

~ Penny ~