Once you have begun skulking through your family's fascinating past, you may find that you need to learn more. Fortunately, there are many options available to you:
- Become a member of the local branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS). They have 30 branches in 10 regions across the province. With membership, you can attend regular monthly meetings, share experiences and expertise, receive branch newsletters, attend special workshops and enjoy guest speakers.
- Join an online newsgroup. Conducting research overseas used to be costly and time-consuming, but now the internet enables you to research your family trees through convenient and informative newsgroups of like-minded individuals. Newsgroups, too, can be very specific. For example, you may have ancestors from Sussex in England. You can find a newsgroup for East Sussex or West Sussex. Find what's right for you. (For more information on what a newsgroup is and how it works, visit www.cyndislist.com/newsgrps.htm.)
- Conduct research online. You will be amazed at how many free resources await you at the click of a button. There are also resources you can pay for – like purchasing CDs of data records, software, etc. – but the amount of free information you can find online is immense. Some popular websites are: Archives of Ontario (includes BMD indexes, cartographic records and dozens of links to other genealogical resources); Cyndi's List (over 250,000 links to genealogical research worldwide); GenForum (explore surname chat forums and discover others researching your family); Library and Archives Canada (includes census and military records, as well as immigration data); RootsWeb (offers free online tutorials, BMD lookups, access to hundreds of newsgroups and much more); and FamilySearch.org (www.familysearch.org – comprehensive family history and genealogy records kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
- Purchase a genealogy software application. Once you start amassing huge quantities of data, you will need to store it in a database for future reference. Stored data, too, shows you quickly the areas of your family tree still requiring further investigation. There are several software packages to choose from – ask your local OGS or search online for the program that best suits your needs.