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
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
In my last post, I showed you a sample of the fascinating papers of the Honourable David William Smith, 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
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. 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
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,
Continue reading Hot off the press: Inheritance in Ontario
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
Continue reading Genealogy Summer Camp 2012 rides into the sunset
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
Continue reading Using cameras and scanners at archives and libraries in Toronto
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