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Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group offers historic expertise » Minden Times

Gail Leach-Wunker, current president of the Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group, shared a fascinating story about family history that she uncovered with the help of resources from other group members at their meeting on Tuesday, October 18. /VIVIAN COLLINGS Personal

Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group offers historical expertise

By Vivian Collings

If you want to delve into your own personal ancestry and learn more about the genealogy of others, there is a dedicated group ready to help.

The Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group (HHGG) is a 91-member group dedicated to collecting genealogical information about the Haliburton Highlands and their own family histories.

They gather the information to create books, manuscripts and maps about the area and those who resided there.

They also help members trace family history to piece together their past.

“We try to make every meeting fun and informative to make it an opportunity to socialize with people who have a common interest in genealogy,” said HHGG Vice President Adele Espina. “New members are encouraged to share their personal research progress, successes and obstacles, and we will try to help them to the best of our abilities.”

Gail Leach-Wunker, president of HHGG, has been a member since 1998 and was the speaker at their October meeting.

“A cousin told me he had researched our family and I asked him to send me a copy of his findings. He sent me this huge board with all these names and dates. Coincidentally, around this time, I saw a classified ad in the Minden Times saying that the HHGG would be holding a meeting,” Leach-Wunker said.

She attended her first meeting to learn techniques for conducting her own research on her family.

“Several members told me how to do it, and I was hooked. I don’t even think I had a computer in those days. Research meant going to the Archives or ordering microfiche or microfilm,” she said.

The group has a resource room at the Haliburton County Public Library – Minden Hills Branch and also offers workshops to help others with research.

“We offer free public genealogy workshops every other Tuesday at the Minden and Dysart branches of the Haliburton County Public Library,” Espina said.

The workshops are called “Afternoons with Ancestors” and the time and location can be found at

Leach-Wunker said being a member of HHGG has been rewarding in many ways.

“I have made many friends through the band. I have introduced the band to new people by representing HHGG at local events such as the Minden Fair, Kinmount Fair and Heritage Days in Stanhope,” she said.

Leach-Wunker has also been able to help others on their genealogical journeys and enjoys being the editor of the HHGG newsletter.

Membership is $12 per year.

“Help with administration and projects is always welcome but not a requirement. Members can be involved as little or as much as they want,” Espina said.

They organize five meetings a year in April, May, June, September and October.

To learn more, visit or contact [email protected]