After lunch, we had the pleasure of hearing Fred Hayward, the 34th President of the UELAC, speak about the loyalists and how they were all individuals, coming from different backgrounds and all having different stories to tell. He encouraged all of the members to learn more about their ancestors and their family stories and pass them on to the next generations. He also talked about the education of the young people about their heritage and different programs that the UELAC is involved in, like the Four Directions Youth Project, to achieve this goal. He also spoke about the additions to the UELAC website and how the website is putting more information online so that it is accessible by everyone researching their Loyalist ancestry.
After Fred Hayward finished speaking, Kathryn Lake presented six certificates to members.
She also informed the members that our branch membership had increased by 115% over the 2008 numbers and we are in second place on the list of the UELAC branch memberships with the most growth. Kathryn Lake is the branch Genealogist and also a fellow geneablogger. Her blogs are LOOKING4ANCESTORS and Essex County Graveyard Rabbit. She is also a speaker and lecturer on Canadian History and Genealogy and has some groups on Genealogywise.
I have been looking forward to meeting Kathryn, and when we got a few minutes to talk, she welcomed me to the branch, and was glad there were some younger members joining. She said the average age of the members is about 65 and if there weren't any younger members, the branch would eventually die out. She explained that the branches usually have six meetings a year, but our branch only has four because most of the members have a hard time getting out to meetings in the winter months.
Although this was our first meeting, I felt like I already knew Kathryn Lake through the geneablogger community. I'm looking forward to working with Kathryn, researching my loyalist lines and gathering sources for my certification. I'm also looking forward to the next branch meeting on November 14th.