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
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.
Continue reading My accidental encounter with Reverend John Saltkill Carroll
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
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
Continue reading Exploring the Lennox and Addington Archives
While most family historians are comfortable—or at least familiar—with libraries and their filing systems, archives are very different matter. Many of us will have never visited any archives before we became family historians.
Libraries, museums and archives have complementary roles. Generally, libraries collect published material (books, microform, published sound and visual recordings, and digital publications).
Continue reading The Archives of Ontario… How do I find what’s in it for me?
This beautiful city—and the amazing Family History Library—has me hooked. I’ve been to Salt Lake City many times. 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 all very well
Continue reading Salt Lake City in February: Join us!
It is the middle of July, and in Ontario that means just about everything is ripe. Saturday morning at the market there were flats of perfect strawberries, early raspberries, glossy red, black and yellow cherries, translucent red currants, and tucked away on just a couple of farmer’s tables, a few pints of unassuming green gooseberries.
Continue reading The Neglected Gooseberry
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