Historical | Genealogy Presentations

Historical & Genealogical Presentations


 UPCOMING EVENTS: History & Genealogical Presentations

*Booking Specifications and Request for Information/Booking Form – bottom of page.


Subject Matter: Canadian & American History, United Empire Loyalists

Time Period: American Revolution (focus: 1776-1783, also resettlement 1783+)

Presentation Title & Synopsis: 

Using her own family story, Jennifer explores how many people and cultures contribute to the Canadian story. From Indigenous peoples to recent immigrants, the often complex interactions weave new perspectives, traditions, and opportunities into the fabric of Canada. This presentation will provide examples meant to inspire others to explore their own family stories, and those of others, to more deeply understand how each contributes to the evolving place we call home.

“How to” tips and resources to continuing your own exploration into the fabric of your family, community and country, will also be discussed.

Subject Matter: Canadian History

Time Period: Ancient North America (Indigenous Peoples) – Modern-era

Presentation Title & Synopsis: 

This presentation explores the connection of this region to the history of slavery in North America. While information on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and a brief history of slavery in Canada and the US will provide an understanding of the magnitude of this tragic institution, it most importantly gives a voice to those who were enslaved. Together we’ll journey through time to discover the harrowing experiences of the thousands of enslaved men, women and children who fought for freedom in the courts, fled from enslavement on the Underground Railroad (routes that crossed through Quebec/Eastern Ontario), and eventually settled in Ontario.  An environment of learning and openness, this presentation provides an excellent opportunity to ask questions and get answers or more resources for learning.

Subject Matter: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, History of Slavery in Canada and US, Underground Railroad (St. Lawrence River Routes), Early Ontario Black Settlers, Canadian History

Time Period: 1600s – Mid-Late 1800s

Presentation Title & Synopsis: 

The Underground Railroad through Northern New York into Quebec and Eastern Ontario

Though much is discussed about the Underground Railroad routes from the US into Western Ontario, it is unfamiliar to some that along the St. Lawrence River there were a series of routes to bring Freedom Seekers into Canada. This presentation will discuss the history of the Underground Railroad, northern routes along the St. Lawrence River, and legends and lore that exist on both sides of the border, which may yet help to uncover hidden stories.

Subject Matter: Brief History of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and History of Slavery in Canada and US, FOCUS – Overview of Underground Railroad – Who were the Freedom Seekers?, How it was operated and by who, including common myths about its operation, and exploring the Underground Railroad (St. Lawrence River Routes) through New York State (touch on Vermont) into Quebec and Eastern Ontario

Time Period: Early 1800s – 1865

Presentation Title & Synopsis:

Do you have a captive ancestor in your family tree?

In fact, many North Americans can count at least one captive ancestor!
Riveting, complex and heartbreaking, the captive story is one of tragedy and triumph. As the battle for the continental supremacy over the colonies in North America raged over generations, people were swept up in its wake – many of them children. The audience will be taken on a treacherous journey, exploring the many complexities of life in ancient lands, and the result of French and English claims to its riches.

Subject Matter: Early North American Wars, Colonial American History, Canadian History

Time Period: Early-1600s – Mid-Late 1700s

Presentation Title & Synopsis: 

Over 16 years ago, Jennifer began to do genealogy as a way to explore her own family history. Though many ancestors have been added to her extensive family trees in that time, it’s her understanding that it is the human story of each of these individuals that holds the key to unlocking their legacy. Not only coming to better understand our complex North American story, Jennifer has also developed a better understanding of who she is, and her place in the ongoing story. “As though listening to stories that echo through the generations,” discover how Jennifer uses her research and writing to journey with her ancestors in an effort to “discover the humanity in the history.”

First delivered at the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (GCGS) in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. October 2016.

“Our Opening Plenary speaker was Jennifer DeBruin. Jennifer got us off to a great start with her inspirational and moving talk about her ancestors and how she came to know them through sharing their stories. People were pumped and ready for the weekend to begin.”GCGS Website

Subject Matter: North American History (Canadian and American History), Genealogy, Research Methods, Importance of Historical Context and Perspective, Writing, LegacyPresentation Title & Synopsis: 

Subject Matter: United Emire Loyalists, American Revolution, Colonial American History, Mohawk Valley (New York), Canadian History

Time Period: Mid-1700s – Early 1800s, focusing on American Revolution 1775-1783

Presentation Title & Synopsis:

Subject Matter: United Empire Loyalists, American Revolution, Colonial American History, Canadian History

Time Period: Mid-1700s – Early 1800s, focusing on American Revolution 1775-1783

Presentation Title & Synopsis:

From the shores of the mighty St. Lawrence River, one of Canada’s most historic regions – settled by United Empire Loyalists in the 1780’s and renowned for its beauty – can now only be brought to life through the memories of its onetime residents. The ‘Lost Villages,’ once vibrant and bustling, now lie under dark waters. In 1958, our history changed forever.

Subject Matter: Canadian History, St. Lawrence River/Early Ontario Life, St. Lawrence Seaway Project

Time Period: Ancient (Indigenous Land Use), Early 1700s – Mid-20th Century, Focus on: St. Lawrence Seaway Project (1954-58)

Presentation Title & Synopsis:
The audience will be taken on an incredible journey, walking in the footsteps of the women who inspired Jennifer’s novels – and who often linger in the shadows of history. She will also share why she writes, and why it is important to explore the stories of women.

Subject Matter: Canadian History, Colonial American History, Genealogy

Time Period: Early 1700s – Mid-20th Century


Uncovering the Unknown Story: A Guide to Fact-Finding & Archival Exploration

My guiding philosophy is to, “Discover the humanity in the history,” and in this presentation I will share my process for exploring and building social histories that begin with basic genealogical information and/or archaeological and heirloom finds. My own experience over the last 20 years of conducting extensive research for my writing, presentations and to satisfy my immense curiosity about people, places, and objects, has revealed incredible stories. To illustrate my process and share some of my “go to” resources, I’ll use some of my previous and current projects, ones that are slowly revealing incredible people, and experiences in history, that are compelling and important to share.

Discovering & Sharing Our History – Our Story

(Genealogy: Beginner – Intermediate)

Topic Highlights: 

  • Preparing to Research: Suggested forms, what to look for first, etc…
  • Where to Research: Types of sources, sites to visit (electronic & physical), etc…
  • Importance of Historical Context: Understanding the times of our ancestors, and how it offers clues to further research
  • Ways to Share Information: Ideas on documenting, storing, and sharing with family and others
  • Introduction to Genealogical DNA: Options and uses in research


Historical & Genealogical School Presentations Available – Primary, Secondary & Post-Secondary

EXAMPLES of Recent Presentations

Bicentennial Branch UELAC (Kingsville, ON), Great Canadian Genealogy Summit – Opening Plenary Speaker (Brampton, ON), Prince Edward County Museums | Lost Villages Historical Society | 1000 Islands River Heritage Society | Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) – Ottawa Branch | Brockville Collegiate Institute (Gr.7) | UELAC—Branches: Kingston, St. Lawrence, Bay of Quinte, Kawartha, Toronto, Sir Guy Carleton| Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) – Cornwall & District, Nepean | Women’s Institute (WI) – Kingston & District *

Customization of Topic and Length Available

Request for Presentation

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Presentation Specs:

  • Length: Available in 20 minute, 40 minute, or 1-hour (Genealogy sessions 1-hour+), or custom length to organizational requirements
  • Format: Multimedia (requiring overhead projector & screen – laptop supplied by presenter). Microphone if large room, otherwise, speaker is adept at projecting voice.
  • Fee: Fair Honorarium (+travel and/or accommodations depending on distance)
  • Sales: Presenter requests ability to make books available for sale to audience after presentations. If presenting in United States of America, host organization is responsible for onsite sales and forwarding funds to author.