24 March 2018

Conference Highlight of the Year!

This year the annual conference of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) is being held in one of my favourite places: Guelph! May 31st to June 3rd.

Watch for it

Guelph home of the notable University of Guelph (venue for the conference) with the university's renowned Scottish Studies Department; McLaughlin Library; the Arboretum; the Ontario Agricultural College; and the Ontario Veterinary College. Driving into town from the 401, especially on Brock Road, you must pass the ever-sprawling and charmless outlier subdivisions before finding the campus and any essence of the old town.

Church of Our Lady

The town's core of surviving limestone buildings and Victorian homes will please the historically-minded — so many designated heritage buildings. Part of the Guelph Civic Museum's mandate is caring for the childhood home of Colonel John McCrae, our beloved First World War soldier poet. The Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate is a National Historic Site, finest work of nineteenth century architect Joseph Connolly (design said to be based on Cologne Cathedral). Yes, you will see them on one of the OGS pre-conference tours. Guelph City Hall and the Armoury are also National Historic Sites.


You are not likely to see the Guelph Junction Railway line; the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada; Ignatius Jesuit Centre; Homewood Health Centre, pioneer of addiction treatment; "the Albion," cherished drinking spot for generations of students since 1856; or the seven recreation/nature trails within the city unless you go looking for them. Oh well. I'm not a travel agent, am I?

Accommodation for the conference is offered at the university's East Residence (non-air-conditioned) or nearby hotels such as Holiday Inn, Delta, and Days Inn. Presumably once you are registered you will be given more information about locations for lectures, workshops, and meals. I don't need to repeat here the abundance of genealogical offerings over the period; something for everyone! It's all on the conference website.

It's not unusual to share the chairmanship of the conference. What is unusual is sharing it this year with a non-Ontario resident, a non-Canadian. I'm trying to get my head around that (it's principle, not personal) for the biggest genealogy conference in this country. Maybe I'm the only one who feels strange about it.

© 2018 Brenda Dougall Merriman

19 March 2018


A cross-post from, not exactly by overwhelming demand, but just to say
Second edition of CAMELOGUE now available!

Created at and for sale on, $15.00 Canadian; the USD equivalent is less.

Now 110 pages, stripped of "fillers" in the first edition. Approximately half the book consists of edited past adventures; the rest is added adventures since 2012. I promise there will not be a Third edition.

Here's the public description:
A personal photographic chronicle of chasing camels in Arabic countries encumbered only by gender, age, opportunity, and gentle self-delusion. Impersonating a world traveller requires permanent smiles and sign language on high alert. Strange, the writer's pull to ancient civilizations. Stranger still, baking one's tender body in near-isolated deserts. Highly recommended for lovers of animals and warm climates. Lose yourself briefly here in a different world.

"Arabic" is over-stated only in that two of the countries are not. The United States and the Netherlands. Some of the experiences were divine. Others were funny or disappointing with a variety of characters, and just one heart-attack-scary night "hill climb."

Back cover:
Brenda Dougall Merriman is well-known as a genealogist for her serious books Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records; United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada; and Genealogical Standards of Evidence. She writes about her Canadian, Scottish, and Latvian ancestors at She also writes about other adventures on her blog CamelDabble TravelBabble at