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
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
Continue reading Big indexes to consider for every Ontario ancestor
Last fall, I wrote an article about the importance of city directories for Toronto family history research—really for all Toronto historical research. They are a way to see the development of the city and to stroll around the neighbourhood where your ancestor lived, worked, worshipped and shopped. A reader of that September 2 article has
Continue reading Toronto City Directories: A few more thoughts
This is the third and final episode, in which I speculate wildly on the reasons for the animosity between Toronto bookseller Magnus Shewan and his niece Margaret Fraser. If you’re new to the story, it will all make more sense if you read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
In the last episode, we read
Continue reading The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The will in the way”, part three
Whenever you’re doing urban research, particularly in North America, city directories should be a first stop.
For Toronto, the first directory was published in 1833—a year before the Town of York even became the City of Toronto. Over the next 25 years, five more directories were issued by various publishers. Directories were commercial ventures and
Continue reading Toronto ancestors? Check the city directories.