Canada has a thriving family history community, many of whom have made genealogy a life-long passion, or even a career. We’re lucky to count some of these experts as members of the ‘AncestryⓇ Canada Advisory Board’, a network of Canadian genealogists from British Columbia to Nova Scotia (and most provinces in between!) with expertise in different research specialites- from Canadian and European to Chinese Canadian genealogy – that we consult with on all matters of Canadian family history research.
They may be familiar names and faces to some of you; perhaps you’ve heard them speak at a conference or read their blogs, articles or books. And the good news is, throughout this year, we’ll be sharing some of their knowledge, tips and advice here on the Ancestry Canada blog, so keep your eyes peeled.
We welcome new members, so if you’re a professional or experienced genealogist interested in joining the Ancestry Canada Advisory Board, email Lesley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Without further ado, meet the Ancestry Canada Advisory Board!
Chair: Lesley Anderson – Ottawa
Lesley has worked with Ancestry for over 12 years as our Canadian spokesperson and has done numerous presentations for genealogy societies and conferences across Canada as well as TV and radio appearances.
She has been researching her family tree for over 50 years and her passion for genealogy has branched out to DNA genetic genealogy, teaching classes and researching for others. Recently she organized a group of 30 on a research and sightseeing trip to Ireland. She was the Director of Education for BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) for many years and volunteered at the Ottawa Stake – LDS Family History Center where she got great joy out of helping genealogists with their research.
Brian Glenn – Ontario and the west
Brian was initiated into genealogy over 40 years ago when his mother-in-law asked if he could replicate their family history on a sheet of wallpaper. Being a “computer person” he bought a $10 family history program and dug in – and he’s still going!
Brian became involved with the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) when he made enquiries about the reverse of the British Home Children programs (Brian’s mother was born in Montreal but was sent to England to be raised by family until the age of 18 when she returned to Canada with her mother). Over the years with BIFHSGO, Brian has been the Director of Education, Director of Research and Administrative Chair of the annual Family History Conference.
His current family history focus is on two sets of Glenn brothers who left Pontiac County, Quebec, for finer farming pastures in Western Canada and South Dakota, USA in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Dave Obee – British Columbia/Western Canada
Dave Obee is a journalist and genealogical researcher who has written a dozen books and given more than 600 presentations at conferences and seminars in Canada, the United States and Australia since 1997. He has been working on his family history for more than 40 years and runs CanGenealogy.com, a Canadian genealogy link site that is selective and sorted for ease of use.
He is a member of the services consultation committee at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa, was a former member of the board of Canada’s History Society and was president of the Foundation for East European Family History Studies from 2004 through 2007.
Dave is a columnist for Internet Genealogy magazine and Your Genealogy Today magazine. He has also written about family history for Canada’s History magazine and Your Family Tree magazine in the UK.
Dwayne Meisner – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dwayne has lived in Halifax County all his life, and spent 30 years of his career as an electronics technician, which led him into computers. He became interested in genealogy 40 years ago after spending some time helping his grandmother painting and cleaning her home – and listening to her stories about her family in the evenings. He plotted her stories into a family tree (on a piece of butcher’s paper!) and years later, using archives and online resources such as Ancestry, was able to validate them. Taking an AncestryDNAⓇ test, he was also able to prove that she was right about having “Spanish Blood” somewhere in her family line.
Dwayne has had his own genealogy website since 2003 and also administers/co-admins several genealogy groups on Facebook.
He lives with his wife Francine on the Eastern side of Halifax Harbour with their four cats and a budgie.
Ellen Thompson-Jennings – Alberta
Ellen Thompson-Jennings is the self-proclaimed Family History Hound. She has been interested in genealogy since her teens when she interviewed her great grandmother Elizabeth about her life and family. Ellen loves the thrill of the hunt, hence her blog is called Hound on the Hunt. Ellen will tell you that after her family she has three passions; genealogy, genetic genealogy, and family photos. She attends many genealogy conferences across Canada representing her online store Shop the Hound which gives her a chance to meet other genealogy enthusiasts and to learn their stories.
Gail Dever – Montreal, Quebec
Gail Dever is a genealogy news blogger on Genealogy à la carte where she writes daily about family history research and resources. Passionate about family history since her teenage years in Toronto, she lectures about genealogy research and social media. In 2017, Gail was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa where she managed the website for several years. A graduate of Université Laval, she now lives in Montreal.
Gary Schroder – Quebec
Gary Schroder has been the President of the Quebec Family History Society since 1995. His first known ancestor to set foot in Canada was his 3x great grandfather Cornelius Flynn – from Cork in Ireland – who arrived in the Port of Quebec City in 1805.
Gary has been a Member of the Special Advisory Board of Library and Archives Canada, a frequent guest on Canadian Radio and Television and a research consultant on the American, British, and Canadian versions of “ Who Do You Think You Are?”.
His primary research interests are Canada, England, Ireland, and British Military resources for genealogists.
Glenn Wright – Ontario
Born and educated in Toronto, Glenn Wright joined the Public Archives of Canada in 1975 and during his 30-year public service career, worked as an archivist, historical research officer and assistant historian with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Retired since 2006, he is a frequent speaker at family history events, with a special interest in Canadians who served in the First World War. Glenn is the author of Canadians at War, 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War I Service Records
Janice Nickerson – Ontario
Janice Nickerson is a professional genealogist with over 30 years of research experience. Her expertise includes Upper Canadian history, criminal justice records, fur trade history, turning bare bones genealogies into full-fledged family histories, and finding fun ways to share family history finds. http://www.uppercanadagenealogy.com/aboutus.html
In addition to helping her private clients discover the richness of their ancestral heritage, Janice does searches for provincial Public Trustees, writes and lectures on a variety of genealogical topics.
Janice is a proud 8th-generation Canadian, with English, German, Irish, Welsh and Aboriginal heritage.
John D Reid – Ottawa
John D Reid is a Canadian blogger, writer, researcher and advocate for family and local history. Originally from Norfolk, England, he has more than 25 years experience as a family historian.
Since retiring he has spent much of the last two decades guiding and motivating family history research, with particular interests in British immigration to Canada and the application of science and technology. John’s daily blog, Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections provides timely updates on family history resources and developments from an independent Ottawa perspective.
He served as Chair of the City of Ottawa Arts, Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Services Advisory Board.
Lianne Kruger – Alberta and Western Provinces
Lianne began researching as a teenager in front of a microfilm reader. After University she researched her paternal line back to the first European landowner of Canada and since then has continued to help others with their family history for the last 30 years.
She has taught Family History at the Weber State University Institute and spoken at many genealogy conferences and online on topics including Canadian and United States Homestead Records, Filles du Roi, South Africa, and combining family history with her love of teaching technology, Maps & Satellite, Social Media, YouTube, and blogging. Her blog iFamilyHistory.blogspot.ca includes a variety of technology techniques to help with genealogy.
Lianne served as 1st Vice President of the Alberta Genealogical Society for six years and was a board member, VP, President and Past President of the Central Alberta Historical Society. She has written articles for BYU Studies Quarterly, FamilySearch, Tree Climber, and Relatively Speaking on a variety of Canadian and technical topics.
Linda Yip – British Columbia
Linda writes about her latest genealogy finds from tools to uncovered family stories on her blog Past-Presence.com. She’s an active member of the BC and SK genealogy societies and is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Her passions are the history of the Chinese in Canada, Force 136, her growing collection of 30K+ images, and keeping her finds organized! Most weekends you’ll find her curled up on the couch with her laptop, either researching or writing about genealogy.
Ruth Burkholder – Ontario
Ruth, the daughter of British immigrants, was born and raised in Toronto and married into a Pennsylvania-German farming family – two diverse family histories that have led her to an understanding and appreciation for the many different sources available for finding information!
For the past 35 years, Ruth has worked professionally as an historian and genealogist, lecturing, teaching and researching local and family histories.
When it became known, a number of years ago, that the Ontario government was planning the disposal of the historic land records of the province, Ruth, along with other genealogists and historians, formed the Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD).
Shannon Switzer Cherkowski – Alberta
Shannon Switzer Cherkowski’s interest in genealogy started in childhood. She is passionate about helping people learn to find their roots and her specialty is research from records found in the Edmonton area. Shannon regularly visits the Alberta Legislature Library, Edmonton Law Courts building, University of Alberta libraries, and public libraries.
Shannon co-created and executed successful genealogical seminars (dubbed ‘Genealogy in the Park’) in Alberta featuring western Canadian genealogists in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Shannon joined the Alberta Genealogical Society’s Edmonton Branch in 2003 and enjoys learning from others’ decades of experience.
Sharon Callaghan – Quebec
Montreal-born Sharon Callaghan is a writer, genealogist and lecturer, and a long-time interest in family history led to her discovering mainly Irish and French roots. Her writing and family history endeavours benefit from an enthusiasm for history and research. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in sociology with a minor in anthropology, after having served in the Canadian Forces. Sharon is the author of the historic nonfiction Paths of Opportunity and her articles have appeared in publications of genealogy societies.
She has lectured on Quebec resources, specializing in Quebec notary records and Quebec land records. See her website here.
Tammy Tipler-Priolo – Ontario
In 1992, Tammy developed an interest in her family history – which includes British, French-Canadian, Native Canadian, Belgian, German and Swiss roots. She is a graduate from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and opened her business, The Ancestor Investigator in 2000. Tammy is a member of the Association for Professional Genealogists (APG) and has been a member of The Genealogical Speakers Guild since 2007. She has lectured and given workshops nationally and internationally and has had over a thousand articles published across North America. She has also created four genealogical games!
Tammy lives in Alliston, Ontario with her husband and daughter and outside of genealogy, her hobbies include gardening, multi-media painting, creative writing, traveling and spending time with family and friends.