17 March 2019

OGS/Ontario Ancestors

It was a surprise when the eWeekly Update landed in my email inbox early on Saturday morning. It arrived for the first time as the Ontario Ancestors eWeekly, not the OGS eWeekly. What's in a name? The information was much the same.

When OGS announced the new Ontario Ancestors branding it seemed this was borrowing from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. There NEHGS exists comfortably alongside American Ancestors. However, there are indications that's not the intention for Ontario. For instance, this most recent eWeekly includes "More new books authored by Ottawa Branch, Ontario Ancestors (formerly known as Ontario Genealogical Society, OGS)."

A comment posted by Paul Jones asked if those of us who live in Ontario but have no Ontario Ancestry will still be welcome in the society? As of the 2016 census 29.1% of Ontario's population were immigrants. Is that a segment the society is no longer interested in attracting and serving?

A rebranding for marketing to the large US market where the change was introduced at RootsTech, is one thing. Extensive replacement should surely be agreed by the Society as a whole?


Jane MacNamara said...

I appreciate the initiatives and hard work of the OGS board (all volunteers) to promote the organization, however, I do not support changing the name to the less-inclusive Ontario Ancestors. Many of our most active members don't have local roots. I also lament the loss of the word "Society." The strength of OGS is its branches. The strength of a branch is members, both those who live close enough to attend meetings but may have roots anywhere, and those who live far away but have local ancestry. Losing the word "Society" or an equivalent, makes the organization sound more corporate and diminishes the fact that OGS exists only because it has members.

Linda Reid said...

I was very surprised and disappointed to read of the rebranding of OGS as Ontario Ancestors (at a conference in the US, no less!) I have been an active member of Toronto Branch for many years and I had heard no discussion of this proposed change. Although I was born in Toronto, only one of my parents is Canadian-born and none of my grandparents. I always thought that OGS was a place for genealogists who live in Ontario as well as those who have Ontario roots.

I will probably remain a member as I have many long-standing friends in the organization. I don't see why someone like me would choose to join now.

There may be short-term membership gains from people in the US whose ancestors lived in Ontario for a generation. I imagine that they will take what they can from our online resources and then not renew after a couple of years. The workhorses of the Society have always been those who lived locally.

I was dismayed by the focus on just Ontario for Conference 2018 at Guelph. I haven't seen attendance numbers or financial statements so I am guessing that it was not an outstanding success. Surely that should have indicated something to the leadership of the Society.

Nancy in Kingston said...

I am Newsletter Editor for Kingston Branch OGS, and we will continue to call ourselves that. We have replaced the old OGS crest with the new Ontario Ancestors logo on page 1 of the newsletter, but that's as far as it goes.

I knew those who worked very hard for several years to obtain the Coat of Arms for OGS. Its elements were carefully thought out to have meaning for family history in Ontario, and it was seen as a major "coup" to be granted the Arms. Too bad the present Board apparently have no regard for the Society's own history.