Bruce & Grey Branch News

The Bruce & Grey Branch Surname Collection is Online in our new Members Only!

The BGOGS Surname Collection is actually a number of collections of newspaper clippings that volunteers have put in scrapbooks over the years. The photo to the right shows just one of these collections before it was digitized. These collections hold mostly birth, marriage and death announcements but they also include anniversaries, birthdays, engagements, promotions, graduations, military honours etc. These collections include clippings covering approximately 140 years (early 1870’s to 2010). It is a goldmine of information for Family History researchers with ties to Bruce & Grey counties.

The three largest collections were organized by surname with all the clippings on a page relating to the same surname. The other, smaller collections were organized chronologically with a number of different surnames on the same page. All collections needed to be digitized. Surname Collection Two was the first collection to be done and was photocopied by a company out of London, Ontario. Collection One was photographed by BGOGS volunteers Korleen Halbert, Kathleen Szakall and Roberta Clark. These collections were put on DVD’s a few years ago and the branch has been selling them for $50.00 each. They are large collections with Collection One consisting of 29,208 pages and Collection Two consisting of 32,914 pages. The number of clippings on one page varies between one and twenty-five, depending on the size of the clipping.

We have also been selling two smaller collections covering the years of 1962 to 1968 (5,428 clippings) and 1980 to 1983 (4,294 clippings). These collections consisted of just the small birth and death announcements. They were put on CD’s and have been selling for $10.00 each. Late in 2018 we received another large collection from Betty Warrilow which is similar in size to the first two large collections. This collection was scanned by Marilyn Irish and edited by Roberta Clark and contains 32,515 pages.

We thought we were ready to go online but when we emptied out our storage locker in February we found a few more years of the smaller collections of birth and death announcements that had not been digitized including the years 1969 to 1974 (5,580 clippings) and 1979 (1,867 clippings) and another larger collection of birth, marriage and death announcements (6,556 clippings). Marilyn and Roberta spent most of their COVID lock down time scanning, labelling and editing these images to add to our collection.

Once all the collections were digitized the next step was to convert them all to JPEG’s and resize them to make them manageable and able to be uploaded to the website.

The “A” files and “B” files are now on our website, with the “C’s” ready to be uploaded and the “D’s” almost done. These are large files and take some time to get them on the site. There is one file per surname and each file can contain one page or a few hundred pages. The A surnames have 2,907 pages in 571 files, The B surnames have 8,802 pages in 2,056 files and the C’s have 7,417 pages in 1,454 files.

To access these files you need to be a member of Bruce & Grey Branch. The login is on the right hand side of the page. Enter your e-mail address and your Ontario Ancestors, OGS password. This will take you to the “Members Only” section. Click on “Surname Collection” Then click on the letter of the alphabet you want to open. To date only the letters “A” and “B” have been uploaded but hopefully “C” and “D” will be there soon. Once you open the file then you can scroll and click on the surname you are looking for.

Contact brucegreywebmaster@ogs.on.ca if you have any questions or experience any difficulties accessing the database.