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Upcoming Talks

May
29
Mon
7:30 pm Life on the Farm @ Eglinton St George's United Church
Life on the Farm @ Eglinton St George's United Church
May 29 @ 7:30 pm
Life on the Farm @ Eglinton St George's United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
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[...]
Jun
16
Fri
9:00 am Think like a genealogist. @ OGS Conference 2017
Think like a genealogist. @ OGS Conference 2017
Jun 16 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Creative Research Techniques to Help You Follow the Right Ancestral Trail: A WORKSHOP AT OGS CONFERENCE 2017 Family history research is all about following clues and creativity—imagining what records might exist around a life event,[...]
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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

Continue reading The Other Directories: Society Blue Books

Dear Diddles: Eliza Mathews writes to her friend Ann Smith

This is my third post about the David William Smith papers at the Toronto Reference Library. The first two posts, A Toronto farm, 1799–1800 and A tale of two Isaac Gilberts, drew from Smith’s service as Upper Canada’s first Surveyor General and his personal land ownership.

First page of a three-page letter from Eliza

Continue reading Dear Diddles: Eliza Mathews writes to her friend Ann Smith

A tale of two Isaac Gilberts

In my last post, I showed you a sample of the fascinating papers of the Honourable David William Smith[1], Upper Canada’s first Surveyor General, in anticipation of a lecture at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2014. The conference and the talk are now history themselves.

Letter to Surveyor General D.W. Smith from Secretary to

Continue reading A tale of two Isaac Gilberts

A Toronto farm, 1799-1800

Over the last six months or so, I’ve been digging into the papers of the Honourable David William Smith, Upper Canada’s first Surveyor General, part of the amazing manuscript holdings of the Toronto Reference Library.[1] I’ve dipped into this intriguing collection several times before, but this time I’ve systematically opened every Hollinger box and file

Continue reading A Toronto farm, 1799-1800

Hot off the press: Inheritance in Ontario

Very pleased to find a box from Dundurn Press at my door last week—the first copies of my new book Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and Other Records for Family Historians.

The book covers wills and related records from 1763 (well before “Ontario” existed) up to current records. For novices and researchers new to Ontario records,

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Genealogy Summer Camp 2012 rides into the sunset

The invasion is over! Well, it was a small invasion—ten Genealogy Summer Campers and their camp leaders visited archives and libraries all across Toronto last week.

Genealogy Summer Camp started on Sunday, August 12, with a picnic supper in the peaceful quad of the University of Toronto’s Massey College. We met the campers, who came

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Using cameras and scanners at archives and libraries in Toronto

Capturing images of original documents at a library or archives has never been easier. There are so many choices of technology it is tough to keep up—for both researchers and the library and archives staff who make policies about their use.*

Next week, I’ll be leading Genealogy Summer Camp participants to archives and libraries around

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Baldwin Room manuscripts: breathtaking and heartbreaking

I’ve spent several hours this week—and endless hours over the years—perusing items from the manuscript collection in the Toronto Reference Library’s Baldwin Room. This week, my explorations have been in preparation for a hands-on class I’m teaching there. Rather than chasing a specific fact, my aim has been for variety in subjects and time periods,

Continue reading Baldwin Room manuscripts: breathtaking and heartbreaking