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LIFE ON THE FARM: YOUR ANCESTOR’S PLACE IN ONTARIO AGRICULTURE May Meeting of Toronto Branch OGS: Speaker Jane E. MacNamara We often think of farming as a traditional occupation—something that hasn’t really changed much. But[...]
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The Other Directories: Society Blue Books

My ancestors were not listed in anybody’s “blue book.” Nevertheless, blue books or society registers provide a fascinating glimpse into the way the other half lived, and to which my relatives may have aspired.

Selected blue books in the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre at Toronto Reference Library

Why blue? Blue seems to have been the colour of choice for many official lists for more than 400 years in the UK and North America. Perhaps it was the permanence of the blue dye that made the books feel authoritative? The topics were diverse, so the connection to “blue blood” is probably a red herring. Whatever the reason, the name “blue book” stuck.

The Royal Blue Book from London, England, began publication in about 1820. The 1911 edition claimed to give the “names and addresses of the better class private residents”. It was issued twice a year, at Christmas and in May. The book was aimed at the audience it represented—and would have been an essential reference for hostesses and for guests at the grand houses. The pages were also full of information about government departments, banks, insurance companies, sporting events, and clubs. Advertisements were tasteful and tailored to the clientele—no butchers, but “diamond and pearl merchants.”

The first blue books in North America were published in the US in the 1880s, and really seemed to hit their stride around the turn of the century.

The Élite Directory and Club List of Toronto was published by James Bain, a bookstore owner, in 1894. Like most North American blue books it also took on the task of gently informing the new élite about etiquette—what stationery to use, when one could pay a visit, how to reply to an invitation, and how guests ought to be introduced. The Élite Directory included street listings—but of course not just any streets. It listed the members of twelve “worthy” clubs, and the officers of military regiments.

A sample of families listed in Tyrrell’s 1903/4 Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London

A new edition of The Elite Directory was published in 1898 along with Foster’s Toronto Blue Book and Home Directory. A New York company also produced Dau’s Official Blue-book for Toronto the same year. Annual or biennial blue books for Toronto were produced by a number of different publishers—Foster’s, Wm. Tyrrell, and Dau’s—from 1900 to about 1912.

pages showing advertisements

Services for the well-heeled in Tyrrell’s 1904/4 blue book

The books came back in full force in 1921 with William J. Covington’s The Torontonian Society Blue Book and Club List. It was a bigger, more appealing book with photos of society events and club facilities. It was published regularly until 1946.

For a family historian, blue books can add details to your ancestor’s story—their address, summer residence, what days they were willing to receive visitors, and to what clubs and organizations they belonged. Maiden names were usually supplied for married women, and if adult children were living apart, their residences might also be listed. Some blue books supplied brief biographies for some individuals—presumably for a fee.

It is very interesting to see the goods and services offered by advertisers to the well-heeled readers—everything from insurance, fine furniture, fashion, to medical services and finishing schools.

Most of the Toronto blue books can be found at the Toronto Reference Library. Some have been digitized by the Library and other organizations. You’ll find a list of titles, locations and available links below.


Toronto Blue Books

This chronological list includes locations where you can find each blue book in Toronto (in parentheses) as well as links to online versions when available. Libraries are abbreviated as follows:

  • TRL = Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street
  • OGS = Library of the Ontario Genealogical Society, housed at TRL (see above)
  • CIHM = Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (a fiche collection available at TRL and most Canadian university libraries)

1894: The élite directory and club list of Toronto. Toronto: James Bain & Son, 1894-5. (TRL)

1898: The élite directory and club list of Toronto. Toronto: James Bain & Son, 1898. (TRL)

1898: Dau’s Official Blue-book for Toronto: Society Directory, Club Membership. Buffalo: Dau Publishing Co. (TRL)

1898: Foster’s Toronto Blue Book and Home Directory. Toronto: J.G. Foster, 1898 (CIHM)

1900: Society Blue Book: A Social Directory. Toronto: W. Tyrrell & Co., 1900 (TRL and CIHM)

1900: Foster’s Blue Book or Ladies’ Directory of Toronto, 1900, 2nd edition. Toronto: J.G. Foster & Co., 1900 (TRL)

1902: [Tyrrell’s] The Toronto and Hamilton Society Blue Book: A Social Directory. Toronto: W. Tyrrell & Co., 1902. A second online version here: http://eco.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.74510/1?r=0&s=1 (TRL)

1903: The Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London, etc.: A Social Directory. Toronto: Wm. Tyrrell & Co., 1903-4.  (TRL)

1904: The Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London, etc.: A Social Directory. Toronto: Wm. Tyrrell & Co., 1904-5.  (TRL)

1906: The Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London: A Social Directory. Toronto: Dau Publishing Co., 1906. (TRL)

1908: The Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London: A Social Directory. Toronto: Dau Publishing Co., 1908. (TRL)

1910: The Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London: A Social Directory. Toronto: Dau Publishing Co., 1910.  (TRL)

1911: The Society Blue Book of Toronto and Hamilton: A Social Directory. [for 1912] New York City: Dau Publishing Co., 1911.  A second online version here: http://static.torontopubliclibrary.ca/da/pdfs/bluebook191100dauuoft.pdf (TRL)

1913: The Society Blue Book, Toronto: A Social Directory. New York: Dau’s Blue Books Inc., 1913  (TRL)

1920: Dau’s Official Blue-book for Toronto: Society Directory, Club Membership. Buffalo: Dau Publishing Co. (TRL)

1920: The Society Blue Book, Toronto: A Social Directory. New York: Dau’s Blue Books Inc., 1920  (TRL)

The Torontonian Society Blue Book and Club List. Toronto: William J. Covington.

John Saltkill Carroll

Sorry, the link in Toronto Tree was incorrect. (My fault.) Here’s the post about my new friend Rev. Carroll.

My accidental encounter with Reverend John Saltkill Carroll

I feel a little guilty using John Carroll’s colourful middle name, because I know he didn’t like it. But it makes him easy to identify and there’s a good story behind it, so I’m confident that he’d understand. More about that later.

In November 2016, I became part owner of an oil painting of Rev. Carroll. Three friends and I acquired it at an online auction of the contents of the closed and soon-to-be-demolished Woodgreen United Church in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto.

What first drew our attention to the auction were the war memorials listed for sale. They deserved better treatment. We combed through the rest of the 315 lots up for bid, and noticed the painting, described as “Picture A, 39 x 54”. The digital images included one of the name plaque which read “Rev. J. Carroll”.

Portrait from the Woodgreen United Church auction.

That name meant nothing to me. Time was short to determine whether the portrait, or the man it depicted, were historically or artistically significant. There were 48 hours left to the close of bidding.

A Google search for the combination of words “rev j carroll toronto” showed me an assortment of documents that connected Methodism, Toronto, and Leslieville. Taken together, they convinced me that the subject of the painting at Woodgreen United Church (originally Woodgreen Methodist Tabernacle) was Reverend John Saltkill Carroll.

There was a Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry for him! (It begins by stating that he never used his middle name.) But the DCB is a great place to start.

John’s father, Joseph Carroll, had served for the British in the American Revolutionary War. After his corps was disbanded in the West Indies, he settled in New Brunswick. “Settled” may not be the right word. His time in the army and at sea had made him restless and intemperate. Joseph married Molly Ridout, twenty years his junior. John and his twin brother were the last of twelve children. They were born in 1809 on an island in Passamaquoddy Bay, called Saltkill’s. John was named for the island’s Quaker owner, John Saltkill, and his twin for the island’s other resident Isaac Clarke.

Joseph and Molly were on their way to Upper Canada at the time of the twins’ birth, apparently with the promise of a 1,000-acre land grant. (This remains to be proven and impresses me as very optimistic.) The family settled on the Grand River near Brantford. They moved to Niagara while Joseph, a skilled harness maker, served during the War of 1812, and the family was forced to seek shelter several times. The regimental harness-maker’s shop was relocated to Hamilton, then Queenston, then finally to York in 1814. The rest of John Saltkill Carroll’s childhood was spent in York and surrounding townships.

Photo from the Topley Studio collection at Library and Archives Canada. Identified only as Rev. John Carroll. Dated 1877, when our Rev. Carroll was 68.

John’s education was limited, although apparently his family recognized his readiness to learn. He figured out reading by five, likely with the help of his Quaker mother and older brothers. From age six to about eleven, he attended schools when they were available. Teaching was not government funded or regulated, and schools typically didn’t last long.

John attended Methodist Sunday School as soon as it became available in York, about 1818. He joined the church in 1823 at the age of 15 and became a probationary preacher in 1827. He was ordained in 1833. From 1831, he was assigned to charges based in Perth, Matilda, Brockville, Bytown, Johnstown, London, Hamilton, Montreal, Belleville, Ottawa, Monaghan, Guelph, Puslinch, Grantham, St. Catharines, and Leslieville.

Reverend Carroll was tireless preacher and leader in the Ontario Methodist community for some 40 years—a tumultuous time in the church’s organization. But his most important contribution was in recording its history.

The mostly self-educated Carroll was a prolific writer. A great storyteller and collector of stories, he tended to write in “anecdotes”—chapter length pieces that may have been published as articles in Methodist newspapers before compilation as a book. The five-volume Case and His Cotemporaries is probably his most significant work.

Today, when Methodism is largely absent from Ontario, it is easy to forget how important, even dominant, it was in the settlement period. A familiar denomination to Loyalists, Methodist preachers worked hard to reach out to isolated communities. The history of Methodism reflects Ontario’s history. John Carroll spoke to and recorded the stories of those “saddlebag preachers” in several books.

Portrait of John Saltkill Carroll from his book, “My Boy Life”

But my favourite book, by far, is the wonderful My Boy Life: Presented in a Succession of True Stories. Covering his family’s early life in New Brunswick, the arduous journey to Upper Canada, life during the War of 1812, the detail is richest after the Carrolls’ arrival in York. Every Toronto historian should read it!

Lucky for us, My Boy Life, and virtually all John Carroll’s books are available through archive.org, making them easily and quite reliably searchable. A list follows this article.

In 1882, in the opening chapter of My Boy Life, John Saltkill Carroll writes about his name: “My [twin] brother did not live long enough to assert his middle name; and I threw Saltkill away, and kept to John alone, when I came to choose for myself.”

Reverend Carroll died on December 13, 1884, at his home near Woodgreen Methodist Church. He was survived by his widow Beulah Adams, daughter Mary Elizabeth, wife of William Hugh McClive, barrister, of St. Catharines, and son John Adams Carroll, MD, of Toronto.


The portrait of this remarkable historian is now with the City of Toronto Museums Services, while they decide whether to accept the painting as a donation.


BOOKS BY JOHN SALTKILL CARROLL

Case and His Cotemporaries, Or, The Canadian Itinerants’ Memorial: constituting a biographical history of Methodism in Canada, from its introduction into the province, till the death of the Rev. Wm. Case in 1855. Toronto: Wesleyan Printing Establishment, 1867–1877. Five volumes.
Vol 1: [https://archive.org/details/cihm_05316]
Vol 2: [https://archive.org/details/casehiscontempor02carr]
Vol 3: [https://archive.org/details/casehiscotempora03carruoft]
Vol 4: [https://archive.org/details/cihm_05319]
Vol 5: [https://archive.org/details/03134132.emory.edu]

“Father Corson,” Or, The Old Style Canadian Itinerant: Embracing the Life and Gospel Labours of the Rev. Robert Corson, Fifty-six years a minister in connection with the central Methodism of Upper Canada. Toronto: Methodist Book Room, 1879. [https://archive.org/details/fathercorsonorol00carr]

My Boy Life: Presented in a Succession of True Stories. Toronto: William Briggs, 1882. [https://archive.org/details/cihm_00485]

A needed exposition, or, The claims and allegations of the Canada episcopals calmly considered. Toronto: Methodist Book Room, 1877 [https://archive.org/details/cihm_24163]

The “Exposition” expounded, defended, and supplemented. Toronto: Methodist Book and Publishing House, 1881 [https://archive.org/details/expositionexpoun00carruoft]

The school of the prophets; or, Father McRorey’s class, and Squire Firstman’s kitchen fire : a fiction founded on facts. Toronto: Burrage and Magurn, 1876. [https://archive.org/details/cihm_00489]

The Stripling Preacher, or a sketch of the life and character, with the theological remains of the Rev. Alexander S. Byrne. Toronto: Anson Green, 1852 [https://archive.org/details/cihm_48062]

Thoughts and conclusions of a man of years concerning churches and church connection. Toronto: William Briggs, 1879. [https://archive.org/details/cihm_00491]

The Besiegers’ Prayer or a Christian Nation’s Appeal to the God of battles. Toronto: Christian Guardian Office, 1855. [sermon at the time of the Crimean War] [https://archive.org/details/besiegersprayero00carr]

Past and present; or, A description of persons and events connected with Canadian Methodism for the last forty years. Toronto: Alfred Dredge, 1860. [https://archive.org/details/adescription00carruoft]

Reasons for Wesleyan belief and practice, relative to water baptism: expressed in plain words and arranged in a summary manner. Peterborough: R. White, 1862. [https://archive.org/details/cihm_55460]

A Humble Overture for Methodist Unification in the Dominion of Canada. Toronto: Burrage and Magurn, 1876. [Bound with The school of the prophets. https://archive.org/details/cihm_00489]

A picture of Ontario farming in 1881

As part of the preparation for my presentation “Agriculture: Was Your Ancestor on the Cutting Edge?” at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Conference 2016, I spent days reading a government report—five lengthy volumes. Sounds like fun, eh? Actually, I was riveted. Just ask the friends and relatives who happened to talk to me during those days—and were regaled with arcane facts about the benefits of salt as fertilizer, or the ravages of robins in cherry orchards, Holstein hesitation, or the turnip revolution.

We often think of farming as a traditional occupation—something that hasn’t really changed much. But that is not and was never the case. Farmers had to react and adapt to changing conditions like climate, technology, economics, new markets and new competitors. Some farmers did more than adapt. They set out to be the most productive by innovating with new techniques and processes, products, and marketing.open book

The Department of Agriculture and its various predecessor and successor agencies published some wonderfully rich reports on many subjects—evaluations of agriculture in a particular region or a specialized branch of agriculture like fruit growing or dairying.

One of the most important is the 1881 report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission. This is a very detailed account of agriculture across the province. The Commissioners held information-gathering interviews with farmers and other agricultural experts. The sessions were transcribed and show the knowledge and sometimes strong opinions held by the interview subjects. Published as appendices of “evidence”, they are often extensive, including information about immigration and family.

All five volumes of the 1881 report have been digitized and are available free at the addresses listed. I have indexed the names of the interview subjects and other major players. Even if the index doesn’t include your ancestor, I encourage you to look at farmers in the same geographic area or the same industry to understand the challenges they faced. Neighbours and colleagues are frequently mentioned in the interviews.

Ontario Agricultural Commission, Report of the Commissioners, 3rd edition. Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, 1881. [Volume I]
https://archive.org/details/cihm_61891

Volume II
https://archive.org/details/cihm_61892
Appendix B: Containing returns relating to the soil, climate, topographical features, cultivatable area and products of, and the process and condition of husbandry*

Volume III
https://archive.org/details/cihm_61893
Appendix C: Evidence relating to fruit growing and forestry
Appendix D: Evidence relating to grape culture and wine making
Appendix E: Evidence relating to insects and insectivorous birds
Appendix F: Evidence relating to bee farming

Volume IV
https://archive.org/details/cihm_61894
Appendix G: Evidence related to general farming and management of crops and stock
Appendix H: Evidence related to the various breeds of cattle and sheep and to wool, pigs and pork packing
Appendix I: Evidence relating to grazing, feeding, and shipping cattle and sheep
Appendix J: Evidence relating to dairy farming, cheese factories, creameries, and the butter trade

Volume V
https://archive.org/details/reportofcommissi05onta
Appendix K: Evidence relating to horse breeding
Appendix L: Evidence relating to breeds of poultry and egg production
Appendix M: Evidence relating to salt in connection with agriculture and cognate industries
Appendix N: Evidence relating to the use of gypsum, phosphates, bone dust, and other fertilizers
Appendix O: Evidence relating to special crops, flax, tobacco and beans
Appendix P: Evidence relating to agricultural education*
Appendix Q: Evidence relating to meteorology in connection with agriculture*
Appendix R1: Report of Messrs Wm. Brown, Edward Stock, and A.H. Dymond, on their visit…to the electoral district of Muskoka and Parry Sound
Appendix R2: Evidence taken in the electoral district of Muskoka and Parry Sound
Appendix S1: Report on Manitoulin Island, and the Sault Ste. Marie District
Appendix S2: Report upon observations made during a visit to Great Britain…*
Appendix S3: Report…on agricultural education in Tennessee*
Appendix S4: Report on the productions of the County of Essex*

NOTE: Appendices marked with an asterisk* did not contain enough personal information to be included in the index.

Name Indentifier Town/township County/District Appendix Page
Allan, A. McD. Goderich D 25
Allan, Alexander McD. Goderich Huron C 74
Allan, John Gypsum manufacturer Paris Brant N 27
Allan, McD. Goderich Huron E 103
Allan, Sen. George W. Moss Park Toronto York C 181
Anderson, James Puslinch Wellington H 33
Anderson, James [Guelph] Wellington L 7
Armstrong, John McKellar Parry Sound R2 40
Armstrong, John S. Eramosa Wellington H 28
Arnold, C. Paris Brant D 23
Arnold, Charles Paris Brant C 55
Arnold, Charles Paris Brant E 102
Ashdown, James Humphrey Parry Sound R2 31
Badger, James McDougall Parry Sound R2 45
Ballantyne, Thomas Cheese exporter Stratford Perth J 27
Ballantyne, Thomas Cheese maker Stratford Perth M 20
Barrie, Alexander North Dumfries Waterloo N 12
Beadle, D.W. Fruit Growers Association [St. Catharines] Niagara C 1
Beadle, D.W. St. Catharines D 19
Beadle, W.D. St. Catharines Lincoln E 101
Beall Lindsay D 23
Beall, Thomas Fruit Growers Association Lindsay Victoria C 48
Beall, Thomas Lindsay Victoria F 10
Beattie, John Pork packer Seaforth Huron H 94
Beattie, John Seaforth Huron O 6
Beith, Robert Darlington Durham K 97
Beley, B.S. Humphrey Parry Sound R2 24
Bell, James T. Prof at Albert College Belleville Hastings G 128
Bennet, Mr. Ste Marie Algoma S1 12
Benson, W.T. Cardinal Edwardsburg Grenville G 43
Bethune, Rev Charles J.S. Insect expert Port Hope Northumberland E 22
Bird, Henry J. Woolen manufacturer Bracebridge Muskoka R2 7
Black, James Ramsay Lanark G 110
Black, John Stock buyer Fergus Wellington I 48
Black, Robert Stock buyer Fergus Wellington I 50
Britton, James Cattle buyer Toronto York I 7
Broder, Andrew Butter exporter West Winchester Dundas J 21
Brodie, William Bird expert E 15
Brown Prof at Ontario Agricultural College Guelph Wellington G 166
Brown, James Port Elgin Bruce C 164
Brown, W.H. Saw miller Baysville Muskoka R2 13
Bucke, P.E. Ottawa Carleton C 67
Bucke, P.E. Ottawa Carleton D 24
Bucke, P.E. Ottawa Carleton E 103
Buckland, George Prof at Kings College Toronto York G 155
Cady, Edwin Kingsville Essex C 99
Caldwell, David Nurseryman Elora Wellington G 194
Caldwell, David Waterloo C 136
Caldwell, William C. Lanark village Lanark C 141
Campbell, Neil J. Nelson Halton N 22
Cann, William Huntsville Muskoka R2 19
Cash, Edward Butter buyer Seaforth Huron J 35
Chaplin, W.H. Newcastle village Durham C 147
Chaplin, W.S. Newcastle Durham E 104
Chapman, Richard Korah Algoma S1 12
Clark, Peter Montague Leeds G 108
Clarke, Hugh Brampton Peel H 52
Clay, John Jr Bow Park Farm Brantford Brant G 1
Clements, Rev Vincent Bird expert Peterborough Peterborough E 97
Cochran, Andrew Ramsay Lanark G 112
Cochrane, James Kilsyth Derby Grey G 150
Cockburn, George Baltimore Hamilton Northumberland K 95
Cole, Zachariah Ridout Muskoka R2 12
Coleman, Dr. T.T. Salt manufacturer Seaforth Huron M 5
Courtice, William Darlington Durham H 69
Cowan, James Waterloo Waterloo N 3
Cresswell, G. Edwin Tuckersmith Huron M 22
Daly, Peter R. Thurlow Hastings J 40
Davidson, William Watt Muskoka R2 19
Davies, William Pork packer Toronto York H 88
Davies, William Pork packer Toronto York M 28
Dawson, John Sault Ste Marie Algoma S1 12
Dempsey, M.P.C. Albany [Albury] Prince Edward E 102
Dempsey, P.C. Albury Prince Edward D 22
Dempsey, P.C. Prince Edward F 6
Demsey, P.C. Fruit Growers Association Albury Prince Edward C 35
Dickson, James Tuckersmith Huron G 38
Diermann, Rev. H. Missionary R2 36
Doel, William H. Doncaster Toronto York L 3
Donald, James Sheep buyer Dalhousie Lanark I 59
Donald, James Dalhousie Lanark E 97
Donaldson, John A. Flax expert Toronto York O 8
Dougall, James Windsor Essex C 106
Dougall, James Windsor Essex E 103
Douglas, John Blantyre St. Vincent Grey G 146
Douglass, Donald Percy Northumberland H 68
Dovey, Isaac Medora Muskoka R2 22
Drury, Charles Crown Hill Barrie Simcoe G 24
Edwards, Mr. Tarantorus Algoma S1 12
Elliot, R.W. Wholesale druggist Toronto York I 41
Elliott, Alanson Colchester Essex G 68
Elliott, Andrew North Dumfries Waterloo G 100
Elliott, Andrew Woolen manufacturer Almonte Lanark H 86
Elliott, Andrew North Dumfries Waterloo N 15
Fisher, John McKellar Parry Sound R2 40
Foreman, William Port Carling Muskoka R2 24
Fowke, Thomas Lount Parry Sound R2 36
Fraser, James M. Gordon and Gore Bay Manitoulin S1 7
Garnier, Dr. John H. Bird expert Lucknow Bruce E 99
Geary, John London? Middlesex I 28
Gibson, David North Dumfries Waterloo N 16
Gibson, John Millikens Markham York G 91
Gile, John Bastard Leeds J 44
Gilmour, Joseph Ridout Muskoka R2 7
Girardot, Theodore Sandwich Essex D 12
Govenlock, Thomas Seaforth? Huron I 44
Govenlock, Thomas Salt manufacturer Seaforth Huron M 25
Graham, John Wallbridge Sidney Hastings C 187
Graham, Ketcham Sidney Hastings G 124
Gray, William M. Salt manufacturer Seaforth and Blyth Huron M 16
Gregory, William Medora Muskoka R2 21
Hagaman, J. Oakville Halton E 104
Hagaman, Jeremiah Oakville Halton C 119
Hailstone, Matthew Ferguson Parry Sound R2 45
Hall, Richard Cattle salesman Liverpool, England I 50
Hallam, John Wool buyer Toronto York H 82
Harstone, C. Greville Ilfracombe Muskoka R2 46
Haskins, William Hamilton Wentworth D 3
Hay, Robert Furniture maker Toronto York C 160
Hayes, Martin P. Salt expert Seaforth Huron M 13
Hays, Thomas E. Seaforth Huron M 27
Hettle, John Creamery Teeswater Bruce J 36
Higgins, William McLean Muskoka R2 8
Hill, R.N. Franklin Muskoka R2 16
Hinman, Platt Haldimand or Grafton Northumberland C 144
Hobson, John I. Mosborough Wellington G 11
Holditch, William Croft Parry Sound R2 32
Hood, George Guelph Wellington H 17
Hoskin, John The Dale Toronto York D 16
Houghton, George A. Horse dealer Seaforth Huron K 64
Hunter, James Alma Wellington H 24
Hunter, Joseph E. Croft Parry Sound R2 33
Hurd, William A. McKellar Parry Sound R2 38
Iler, J.C. Colchester Essex G 75
Inglis, John Creamery Teeswater Bruce J 3
Ingram, John [Manitowaning] Manitoulin S1 10
Irwin, Hugh Chapman Parry Sound R2 34
Jardine, J.W. Hamilton/Saltfleet Wentworth H 55
Jones, D.A. Beeton Simcoe F 1
Kelcey, George Hagerman Parry Sound R2 37
Kenney, William McLean Muskoka R2 9
Lamb, Daniel Fertilizer manufacturer Toronto York N 17
Langford, Thomas McLean Muskoka R2 11
Laurens, Father Priest Sault Ste Marie Algoma S1 14
Lawrie, James Malvern Scarborough York H 62
Leslie, George Jr. Leslieville York C 166
Macfarlane, James Dover Kent G 88
Macfarlane, Robert L. Ramsay Lanark G 113
Maitland, James Montague Lanark F 11
Malcolm, Francis Member of the Commission Innerkip Oxford G 191
Matheson, C.A. Perth Lanark G 51
Matthews, Matthew McLean Muskoka R2 9
McArthur, James Ailsa Craig Middlesex I 25
McCain, William Gosfield Essex G 84
McCallum, Archibald Medora Muskoka R2 23
McCrae, Thomas Guelph Wellington H 8
McCulloch, Thomas Korah Algoma S1 14
McDougall, A.J. Butter and cheese dealer Seaforth Huron M 28
McFarland, David Carling Parry Sound R2 42
McKerven, S.R. [Manitowaning] Manitoulin S1 11
McKinlay, J.P. Howard Kent O 3
McMonagle, Dr. P.R. Horse expert [Prescott] Grenville K 3
McPherson, D.M. Cheese maker Lancaster Glengarry J 12
Meighan, Robert Butter exporter Perth Lanark J 37
Merritt, W. Hamilton Manager of Grand River Gypsum Co. Cayuga Haldimand N 9
Middleton, Henry Clark Durham G 137
Miller, John Brougham Ontario G 18
Monaghan, E. Chaffey Muskoka R2 14
Moore, John D. North Dumfries M 29
Morgan, E.B. Cattle shipper Oshawa Ontario I 3
Morris, Edward Fonthill Welland C 130
Motherwell, John Bathurst Lanark G 106
Mowat, J. Gordon Galt Waterloo C 140
Muntz, E.G. Muskoka R2 1
Murray, John R. Cheese maker Kinburn Huron M 19
Myers, Thomas Bastard Leeds J 42
Nelson, David Sr. Spence Parry Sound R2 35
Noble, William Haldimand and Hamilton Twps Northumberland G 136
O’Beirne, P.H. Port Carling Muskoka R2 23
Pardo, T.L. Not given Kent G 89
Parker, William Stephenson Muskoka R2 5
Parkinson, Lazarus Eramosa Wellington H 39
Patteson, Thomas C. Toronto York K 65
Peake, Tmomas Foley Parry Sound R2 43
Pearce. Thomas G. Chapman Parry Sound R2 35
Penns, Henry Korah Algoma S1 12
Perley, Daniel Paris and Ancaster Brant N 7
Peters, Major John London? Middlesex I 33
Peters. Major John London Middlesex K 59
Pettit, A.H. Grimsby Lincoln C 115
Pettit, S.T. Belmont South Dorchester Elgin F 13
Phipps, J.C. Indian Agent Manitowaning Manitoulin S1 10
Platt, Samuel Salt manufacturer Goderich Huron M 9
Plummer, John [London] Middlesex L 8
Pollock, Smith Perry Parry Sound R2 16
Ransford, Richard Salt manufacturer Clinton Huron M 23
Rawlings, Albin Forest Lambton I 60
Rennelson, Richard North Dumfries Waterloo G 96
Rennie, Peter Fergus Wellington I 45
Reynolds, John Manitowaning Manitoulin S1 10
Riddell, Walter Cobourg Northumberland G 130
Rightmyer, Levi Salt manufacturer Kincardine Bruce M 3
Robb, Hugh Pork packer Seaforth Huron M 26
Robertson, Charles Cardwell Muskoka R2 28
Robertson, W. Scott Pork packer

Cheese maker

Seaforth Huron M 22
Robinson, Walter Scott Butter exporter [Seaforth] Huron J 33
Rosamond, Bennett Woolen manufacturer Almonte Lanark H 87
Ross, W. Mackenzie Harwich Kent C 112
Ross, W. Mackenzie Chatham Kent E 103
Roy, William Sarawak/ Owen Sound Grey C 149
Rudd, George Eramosa and Puslinch Wellington H 13
Russell, James Richmond Hill York H 59
Saunders, Wiliam Insect expert E 61
Saunders, William E. Bird expert E 3
Scott, Isaac Ste Marie Algoma S1 12
Shaw, William Ferguson Parry Sound R2 39
Shuttleworth, E.B. Manufacturing chemist Toronto York N 23
Simmons, C.S. Lobo and Delaware Middlesex I 16
Sirett, Ebenezer Humphrey Parry Sound R2 30
Sirett, William F. Humphrey Parry Sound R2 28
Smellie, David Concord Vaughan York G 141
Smith, A.M. St. Catharines and

Drummondville

Lincoln and Stamford C 125
Smith, Dr. Andrew Veterinarian Toronto York K 79
Smith, John Harwich Kent I 34
Smith, W.R. [Manitowaning] Manitoulin S1 11
Snell, John C. Edmonton (now Snelgrove) Peel H 47
Spencer, William H. Monck Muskoka R2 3
Spring, Albert Draper Muskoka R2 2
Sproat, George Tuckersmith Huron M 12
Stedman, Reuban Drummond Lanark G 103
Stone, Frederick W. Guelph Wellington H 1
Strain, Francis Foley Parry Sound R2 46
Telfer, Andrew South Dumfries Brant N 6
Thompson, A.J. Cattle buyer Toronto York I 11
Thomson, James Brooklin Ontario G 139
Toll, James C. Raleigh Kent C 134
Toll, James C. Raleigh Kent D 11
Tookey, James Macaulay Muskoka R2 6
Trouten, William Watt Muskoka R2 20
Tumlin, George C. Horse dealer Toronto York K 40
Usborne, John Arnprior Renfrew C 142
Walker, Hiram Walkerville Essex I 39
Walker, Hiram Walkerville Essex K 62
Wallbridge, Louis Belleville Hastings F 15
Watt, John Salem Wellington H 36
Wattie, John Brunel Muskoka R2 10
Westland, H.W. Ridgetown Kent C 93
Westland, W.M. Ridgetown Kent E 103
White. Stephen Charing Cross Raleigh Kent G 57
Wilcox, William Foley Parry Sound R2 44
Willet, Andrew Gore Bay Manitoulin S1 5
Williams, W.H. Sports writer Toronto York K 87
Wilson, David D. Egg merchant Seaforth Huron L 10
Wilson, James Cardwell Muskoka R2 25
Winter, John Sinclair Muskoka R2 15
Wiser, J.P. Rysdyk Stock Farm Prescott Leeds G 116
Wiser, J.P. Distiller

Rysdyk Stock Farm

Prescott Leeds I 65
Wiser, J.P. Rysdyk Stock Farm Prescott Grenville K 42
Yuill, Joseph Creamery [Almonte] Lanark J 39
Yuille, Joseph Ramsay Lanark H 66

 

Salt Lake City in September

We’re headed west to Salt Lake City—and the amazing Family History Library—on September 4, just before Labour Day.

I’ve been to Salt Lake City many times. This will be trip 22—eek! For the first trips, it was an opportunity to have microfilmed records at my fingertips that otherwise were only available by arranging for their loan to my local Family History Centre. This involved the postal system, and waiting time, and making appointments—and a lot of distractions in between.

Today, many of the same records have been digitized and are available online. That’s a huge change. The one thing that hasn’t changed—or perhaps has increased—is the distraction factor. I now go to Salt Lake City to have an island of time to devote to digging into those records and putting them together into a story.

One of my favourite places in Salt Lake City: Red Butte Gardens

One of my favourite place in Salt Lake City: Red Butte Gardens

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to do some of my own family research—with the odd diversion to some of the rogues and rebels I’ve found in other people’s families. (My ancestors were—so far—distressingly well behaved.)

I’m also looking forward to sharing the experience with friends who have travelled with the group before and introducing new group members to the Library and the intriguing city.

Maybe you’d like to join us? We will arrive in Salt Lake on Sunday, September 4, 2016, for one or two weeks.

You’ll find prices and more details about the trip here. Our blocks of airline seats and hotel rooms are limited, so I’d advise booking soon. There are a handful of “repeat” travellers already on the list.

The Search for Alban Leaf: Notes

My presentation “The Search for Alban Leaf” demonstrates the use of many English record types—in a period well before census and civil registration. The search for the subject of this case history, Alban Leaf (1681–1756), took me from manorial records and parish registers in Yorkshire, to an ancient church in London, to manors in rural Essex, to intriguing records of inheritance in all locations.

Following are brief notes about some of the sources and reference tools that I think will be useful to other researchers. No single source is the answer. It is a matter of following clues and creative thinking about sources in hand and others yet to be found. And it is such fun…

Alban Leaf held an under-lease of the York waterworks in 1739.

Londoner Alban Leaf held an under-lease of the York waterworks in 1739.

City of York and District Family History Society: Always a good policy to connect with the local family history society that covers your area of interest. http://www.yorkfamilyhistory.org.uk/

Genuki: A longstanding reference and gateway site maintained by volunteers. Regional coverage varies. http://www.genuki.org.uk/index.php

Family History Library Catalogue: An excellent source for English records on microfilm and sometimes digitized. Links to the FamilySearch wiki. https://familysearch.org/catalog/search

FindMyPast: Search indexes and see digital images of many records. Fee required. http://www.findmypast.com/

Ancestry: Search indexes and see digital images of many records. Fee required. http://www.ancestry.com/

Parish Finder: A longstanding tool to find parishes within a specified radius. Bear in mind that the distances are calculated from the centre of what might be a very oddly shaped or non-contiguous parish. http://www.parishfinder.co.uk/

FamilySearch England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851: A fabulous map tool that shows parish and other jurisdictional boundaries overlaid on old ordnance survey and current maps.   http://maps.familysearch.org/

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York: The official depository for Yorkshire parish registers and many other records: https://www.york.ac.uk/borthwick/

Guild Hall Library/ London Metropolitan Archives: A vast array of London parish registers and other records. http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives

Manorial Documents Register: The official index to English and Welsh manorial records in public and private hands. The index for many counties is online. For other counties, visit The National Archives or contact them for a look up. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/manor-search and http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/mdr-map-16.pdf

Hull University Archives: Manorial records may be in an archives far from the manor. The only manorial records for Ryther are here. http://www.hullhistorycentre.org.uk/

Yorkshire Wills: This FamilySearch wiki page is a good place to start. https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Yorkshire_Probate_Records

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills: Are at The National Archives.

Wikipedia page for St. Bartholomew the Great: Wikipedia is usually a pretty good place to start for any prominent parish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bartholomew-the-Great

Parish site for St. Bartholomew the Great: http://www.greatstbarts.com/

Flickering Lamps: A wonderful long-form blog that talks about places in London and England generally. https://flickeringlamps.com/

Spitalfields Life: Another great blog, concentrating on London’s East End. http://spitalfieldslife.com/

British History Online: An online library of key sources. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/

Essex Record Office: http://www.essexrecordoffice.co.uk/ with a very good online database here http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/ and lots of images of parish registers and wills available for a timed subscription.

Mr. Pepys’ Small Change: 17th Century London Trade Tokens
https://c17thlondontokens.com/

Georgian London, a blog by author Lucy Inglis: http://georgianlondon.com/

London Lives 1690 to 1800: searchable index of 240,000 manuscripts from 8 archives and 15 datasets. You can register and link documents in a personal workspace: http://www.londonlives.org/

Names and Descriptions of the Proprietors of Unclaimed Dividends on Bank Stock, which became due before the 10th October 1780, and remained unpaid the 30th September 1790. London: Bank of England, 1791. https://books.google.ca/books?id=D7hjAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false

Big indexes to consider for every Ontario ancestor

Tried and true genealogy research techniques tell us to start with what we know—and to make previously done research and indexed records a priority. But more records are being indexed almost daily, and it is hard to keep track of what’s out there. This list was compiled for a session at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Conference 2015. The indexes all cover a wide swath of Ontario, if not the whole province.

There are other indexes! If I’ve missed one you think should be included, please add a comment at the end of the post.

Most of the indexes are online, some are databases, others are digitized images organized alphabetically. All the websites mentioned are free except for Ancestry.com and ProQuest, which you may be able to access through your local public or university library or Family History Centre. I’ve also included some resources that you’ll have to find in a library or purchase.

In all cases, be sure to check variant spellings of the names. Many of these indexes were created from handwritten records, so be open to creative interpretation of handwriting. Sometimes it is a matter of “teasing” the information from the index.

ONTARIO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY RESOURCES
These indexes were created by genealogists—for genealogists. They are growing and getting better all the time.

TONI: The Ontario Name Index (more than 3 million names linked to published or pay-per-view sources)

OGS Library catalogue (superb cataloging of names)

Family Charts Collection (not presently online, available only at North York Central Library)

MANUSCRIPTS
Whether or not you ancestor left personal or business papers, he or she may be mentioned in a manuscript collection from their community or circle of acquaintances. These resources help you search many collections at once.

Archeion.ca (includes holdings of 170 archives in Ontario)

Archives Descriptive Database (Archives of Ontario)

ArchivesCanada.ca (holdings of 800 archives across Canada. Some links may not function, but it should be easy to find a current link to the repository.)

Guide to the Manuscript Collection in the Toronto Public Library (a guide published in the 1950s. The collection has greatly expanded since then, but this is the only online listing.)

Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories (printed volumes available in major libraries)

LAND
No one comprehensive index to Ontario land records exists, but these indexes to late 18th and 19th century land records come close when used together.

Index to Upper Canada Land Books (OGS publication by Susan Smart)

The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project (McGill University)

Ontario Land Records Index ( a fiche index at the Archives of Ontario and other libraries)

Upper Canada Land Petitions (Library and Archives Canada)

Second Heir and Devisee Commission case files (Archives of Ontario)

NEWSPAPERS
Newspaper research is a time-consuming, fascinating task. These tools use optical character recognition to—with a little luck—jumpstart your search.

Globe and Mail – ProQuest Historical Newspapers (available through many libraries)

Google News (very few of the Ontario papers are every-word searchable, but the images are good)

Ontario Community Newspapers (ourontario.ca)

Toronto Star – ProQuest Historical Newspapers (available through many libraries)

VITAL STATS
Be sure to check these big indexes to births, marriages and deaths.

District Marriage Registers & District Vital Records, 1786-1870 (published resource, pdfs of the indexes to each volume are available online at this site)

Ontario Vital Statistics: Registers of Births, Marriages & Deaths (FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.ca)

Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register master index (OGS publication)

Toronto Trust Cemeteries (FamilySearch)

OTHER LISTS
An assortment of big indexes and smaller, but easy to miss, indexes.

Census (FamilySearch, Ancestry, Library and Archives Canada)

City directories (Toronto Public Library, Archive.org, Library and Archives Canada)

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Index to pre-1858 Estate Files (Archives of Ontario)

The Héritage Project

Toronto Emigrant Office Assisted Immigration Registers database (Archives of Ontario)

Exploring the Lennox and Addington Archives

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit the new Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives in Napanee. I’d been asked to do a presentation for the local historical society there, and well, who can resist an archives!

I have no ancestry in the area, and although my interests in Ontario history are broad, I can’t claim to have any current research projects from that neck of the woods.

Steps and ramp to a limestone archway in the courtyard wall.

Entrance and courtyard of the Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives, Napanee. ©Jane E MacNamara

I looked at the Archives website about a week before my trip so I could contact the staff ahead of time to let them know I was coming. (Always a good idea for a small archives.) I also asked if a tour was possible—since I’d planned to write this article.

The website noted above lists 14 finding aids for the collection. These are pdf scans of collection inventories done mainly in the late 1980s, but searchable. The inventories, in many cases, briefly describe fonds of a similar nature or creator.1 So the 14 finding aids represent a much larger number of fonds. For instance the “Municipal Records” finding aid encompasses school, jail, law enforcement, court, and assessment records, licenses, minutes, bylaws, voters lists, and public utilities—for all levels of local government—towns, townships, county, and the Midland District.2

As a sample fonds for this article, I looked at the “Private Papers” finding aid and selected the “Elsie Parks Papers”. The inventory for this fonds ran to just over two pages, and showed that the collection was divided into to six files. More about Elsie and her papers later.

Archivist stands between rows of compact shelving with large bound ledgers and archival boxes of various sizes.

Archivist Shelley Respondek showing the wide variety of material in the Lennox and Addington Archives records vault. ©Jane E MacNamara

The Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives have been located in the old limestone county gaol since 1976. To celebrate the County’s sesquicentennial in 2014, a beautiful new archives wing was added, and the doors were opened last August.

Archivist Shelley Respondek was my guide. We started in the records vault where compact shelving units now allow proper storage of just about every shape and size of document and register book. Efforts are ongoing (and perhaps never-ending) to get new acquisitions housed and organized.

The reading room is bright and airy, with lots of table space and wifi. One glass wall separating the reading room from the corridor, provides a view of the museum’s limestone wall, currently with a colourful display of WWI posters. Out the windows opposite, trains go by at regular intervals.

A third long wall houses the extensive research library—local and family histories and lots of Loyalist material, as well as more than 2,000 unique family files.

These family files have been compiled over the years from researchers’ donations and correspondence with researchers. For example there are three files for “Parks” families including pedigree charts, typed biographies, and photocopies of original documents.

The fourth and final wall of the reading room houses the microfilm area—three readers/scanners and cabinets—and the archivist’s work area. There is also a card index to several local newspapers.

Tables and chairs with bookcases in the background.

Reading room at the Lennox and Addington Archives showing the local history books and file drawers for more than 2,000 family files. ©Jane E MacNamara

Back to the “Elsie Parks Papers”. The finding aid provides no biography of Elsie, but the fonds includes documents about her training and employment as a teacher in Napanee. There is much correspondence—with family members in California and St. Catharines, and a series of letters about “black Minorca chickens” with various parties in Ontario and eastern Canada.

Elsie’s files include letters, certificates, and ephemera from several generations of her family mostly from the Napanee area. There is a business journal from A.C. Parks of Hay Bay. Most material dates from the mid 19th century up to about 1930, the most recent being about 1960.

But I was really surprised and excited to find an original surveyor’s diary covering the dates April 1796 to May 1797. The diarist didn’t write his name in the book, so his identity or connection to Elsie Parks is unknown. He wasn’t working in Lennox and Addington, but in York and the Home District, east along Lake Ontario to Burlington Bay, and on the Grand River. He specifically mentions investigating locations for a bridge over the Credit River and working in the area around Castle Frank.

Handwritten book with archival weight holding it open.

The 1796-1797 surveyor’s diary from the Elsie Parks Papers at the Lennox and Addington Archives. The right-hand page records work at Castle Frank. ©Jane E MacNamara

Now, for those not immersed in Toronto history, Castle Frank was the summer home of Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant-Governor, John Graves Simcoe and his family. Named for their young son, Francis, and sketched by Elizabeth Simcoe, its exact location on the Don River has always been a contentious matter for historians.

Perhaps there is a clue in this precious surveyor’s diary, kept safe by Napanee schoolteacher Elsie Parks during her life, and now by the Lennox and Addington Archives.

 


NOTES

1. For an explanation of archives terminology, see The Archives of Ontario: How do I find what’s in it for me?

2. The Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives website has a good listing of holdings in its “Genealogy” section including links to other resources of interest. Some 57 fonds have also been listed on Archeion.

Genealogy “Summer Camp” 2015

I’m pleased to announce that after a one-year hiatus, “Summer Camp” will return this year, starting with a get-together on Sunday evening, June 7, and running until Friday, June 12.

Genealogy Summer Campers are on the move every day of this innovative week long program. Each day, participants will travel as a group on public transit to an archives or library—where you’ll be met with a tour or a tutorial on the records available at that institution. Some days there will be a second tutorial during the afternoon. The balance of the day will be devoted to your own hands-on research, with lots of help from local experts.

We’re very lucky to have a wonderful cluster of archives and libraries in Toronto that welcomes our Summer Camp groups. Participants will have the opportunity to visit the Toronto Reference Library, Canadiana Department of North York Central Library, Archives of Ontario, City of Toronto Archives, and a choice of the archives of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the United Church of Canada’s Central Ontario Conferences.

Genealogy Summer Camp buttonSpace is limited. We keep the number of Campers small so we can provide individual help with your research.

You can help us plan and move forward by registering early. We already have several people signed up.

You’ll find more information about the program and accommodation, and the online registration form here.

Toronto Customs House Records

As mentioned in the previous post, the Archives of Ontario holds more than 2,600 collections or fonds of private documents—some amazing, fascinating things that I love to dip into from time to time.

The Toronto Customs House fonds (F 214) is one of these private fonds. The Archives Descriptive Database tells us that the Lt.-Gov. of Upper Canada authorized the building of customs houses in designated ports in 1803, although William Allan [1] had served as Collector of Customs at York from August of 1801 until 1828. The York (later Toronto) Customs House concerned itself only with shipments from the USA. European goods would have cleared customs at Quebec or Montreal.[2]

Worn hardback register books

The two registers that comprise the Toronto Customs House fonds F 214 at the Archives of Ontario

The Toronto Customs House fonds consists of two bound registers of manifests of goods arriving in Toronto by ship from April 17, 1836 to July 8, 1841. This covers, approximately, the period that the Collector’s job belonged to Thomas Carfrae, Jr.[3] Each record gives the name of the vessel, the date and wharf of arrival, the name of the importer, and a detailed list of what was being imported.

I’ve transcribed a portion of one particularly interesting manifest from June 1, 1836[4] that sheds light on the business activities of a Toronto merchant named Silas Burnham, and on the goods that were available for purchase in 1830s Toronto—somewhat more exotic then we might expect. The list (below) appears in the order in which it was originally written. Does the mention of some items, like raisins, several times on the list reflect the fact that the items were being fished out of the nooks and crannies in the hold where they had been stowed for the voyage?

Watercolour of a one-storey brick house

Artist Frederic Victor Poole’s impression of the Toronto Custom House, painted in 1912 from a drawing published in January 1889 in the Evening Telegram. (Toronto Reference Library, JRR 510)

The customs register book for 1836 began on April 17 (presumably when the lake was clear of ice) and continued until December 1. The Customs House at this time was a small one-storey building on the north side of Front Street east of Scott Street.[5] The register shows that virtually all goods were brought ashore at either Brown’s wharf or McDonnell’s/McDonald’s wharf. The vessel that brought Silas Burnham’s goods, the Robert Burns, appears to have come to Toronto only once that season, but Silas received about a dozen shipments from the USA on various ships, including a “thrashing machine” on August 12.

The importer, merchant Silas Burnham, may have started his retail life with a market stall,[6] but by 1836 he was operating a general store at 67 King Street East. At that time, King, Toronto’s principal commercial street, was numbered from east to west; 67 was on the south side between George and New (Jarvis) streets. He appears there in the 1833/4 and 1837 directories,[7] and in the assessment rolls[8] from 1834 to 1839. However, in the assessment rolls for 1840, the building is empty. Has Silas moved to a different Toronto location, or has he left the city? A thorough search of the 1840 and later assessment rolls should provide the answer.

Handwritten list, transcribed below

Detail of the list of goods shipped for Silas Burnham, 1 June 1836

We do know that he eventually left Toronto—and Upper Canada. In an intriguing letter written May 22, 1843, in Kingston, to his wife in Toronto, Samuel Peters Jarvis expresses surprise at a rumour that Silas Burnham has committed fraud and fled the country. Jarvis writes, “If the report should prove true it will cause quite a panic among the Good Citizens of Toronto.”[9] Not having consulted court records, I won’t hazard a guess about when or why Silas moved across the border. However, his estate file, proved in the Court of Probate on July 20, 1849, reveals that he died on May 7, 1848, in Centreville, Wayne County, Indiana. He left a son Erastus, aged 13, a daughter, Mary Louisa, aged 5. His widow Clarissa Jane Burnham returned to Upper Canada, and was living in Port Hope, shortly after Silas’ death.[10]

Should you consult the Toronto Customs House fonds? If your family lived in or near Toronto during 1836 to 1841, the registers will give you, at least, a glimpse of the activity at the harbour. Many individuals—not just merchants—received goods that are listed. On the same day that Silas Burnham’s shipment arrived, the Robert Burns also brought cargo for Messrs Rigney and Brent, Rev. D. McAuley, and three bales of hides for tanner Jesse Ketchum. We see William Lyon Mackenzie importing type and a printing press later that summer. [11] While the Toronto Customs House registers are not indexed, they are very legible, and a fascinating read.

June 1, 1836 / Importer: S Burnham / Wharf: McDonnel / Vessel: Robt Burns
3 boxes of ware
1 box medicine
1 box paper
3 bags of spice
4 tierces of rice[12]
4 casks of mittens[13]
29 kegs of tobacco
20 dry barrels
6 boxes of chocolate
4 dry kegs
18 1/2 boxes of raisins
6 boxes of pipes
3 boxes of ware
1 case
1 box of [goods]
2 boxes of bitters
1 basket of oil
1 rocket
20 drums of raisins
20 drums of figs
4 boxes of ware
4 bags of nuts
2 boxes of prunes
1 box cocoa
1 box capers
1 box syrup
2 small boxes
10 bales of goods
40 boxes of raisins
21 kegs of tobacco
1 box of goods
11 boxes of candy
2 boxes of pepper sauce
2 boxes ware
4 bags of nuts
16 boxes of scythe stones[14]

NOTES

[1] Two customs account books created by William Allan during his tenure survive in the William Allan fonds, S 123, Series 1, Vols 1 and 2, Baldwin Room, Toronto Reference Library. They cover the period 1815 to 1830.

[2] Armstrong, Frederick H. Handbook of Upper Canadian chronology, revised edition. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1985. pp 217, 225.

[3] ibid. p 225.

[4] Register entry for S. Burnham, June 1, 1836, Register of Manifests, Toronto Customs House fonds, F 214, Box MU 2991, Archives of Ontario.

[5] Martyn, Lucy Booth. The face of early Toronto. Sutton West, ON, and Santa Barbara, CA: The Paget Press, 1982. p 31. The Customs House is also marked on the 1834 Alpheus Todd Engraved Plan of the City of Toronto.

[6] Silas Burnham appears in a list of vendors who rented market stalls in York in 1831 in Appendix to Journal of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada 1831. p 172 (available at http://eco.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.9_00942_7)

[7] York commercial directory, street guide and register, 1833-34. York, U.C.: Walton/Dalton.
City of Toronto and the Home District commercial directory for 1837. Toronto: Walton/ Dalton & Coates.

[8] City of Toronto assessment rolls are at the City of Toronto Archives, and available on microfilm at the Archives of Ontario and through FamilySearch.org.

[9] Letter from Samuel P. Jarvis (Kingston) to Mary Jarvis (Toronto), 22 May 1843, Samuel Peters Jarvis and William Dummer Powell fonds, F 31, item 362, microfilm MS 787, reel 2, Archives of Ontario.

[10] Estate file for Silas Burnham, merchant, Toronto, 20 July 1849, Court of Probate, RG 22-155, microfilm MS 638, reel 41, Archives of Ontario.

[11] Mackenzie received printing equipment on June 17, 26, and July 12, 1836. (Register of Manifests, Toronto Customs House fonds, F 214, Box MU 2991, Archives of Ontario)

[12] A tierce was a cask that held 42 US gallons of liquid or about 159 litres.

[13] I have found several instances of mittens and gloves shipped in casks. Here is one from a manifest of goods shipped to Boston on the Renown in 1776.

[14] More about scythe stones.