This past weekend, I spoke at Gene-O-Rama, the annual conference of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. My topic for the keynote lecture was “Inheritance Interrupted: World War I reflected in Ontario Estate Files”.
Over the last few months, in preparation for the talk, I’ve dug pretty deeply into records spanning 1914 to
Continue reading Inheritance Interrupted: Estate files during WWI
In contrast to the last couple of posts, where I’ve attempted to lead you step by step through a set of records, this time I’m writing about records that mystify me. I can’t give you a straightforward route into them, because I haven’t found one. I have used chancery court records, and I’ve been lucky
Continue reading A Stab at Chancery Court Records
In part one, we started with the 1895 death of prominent Toronto tobacconist Joab Scales and located his name in the indexes produced by the York County Surrogate Court. When we were unable to decipher the illegible grant number, we consulted the court’s register to find it. We took the newly found grant number 11255
Continue reading Finding an 1896 estate file in York County: A step-by-step example, part 2
Most Ontario counties have published indexes to estate files for the period 1859 to 1900, and some indexes go beyond those dates. But York County is an exception to the rule. It was the most populous county, containing the City of Toronto, and the prospect of creating a modern index was, and is, daunting. Those
Continue reading Finding an 1896 estate file in York County: a step-by-step example
Sometimes you meet the most interesting people completely by accident. I met Maude Scales Darby in the April 1, 1914, edition of the Toronto World. Of course, I was looking for something entirely different when I stumbled upon her obituary.
Obituary for Maude Scales Darby from the Toronto World on 1 April 1914.
Continue reading The life and times of Maude Scales Darby
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
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
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
Yesterday morning I spoke at Richmond Hill Public Library as part of its series on “Women in 19th Century Ontario”. I highly recommend the rest of the lectures in this series: Janice Nickerson on March 30 on Women in the Upper Canadian Criminal Justice System; Guylaine Petrin on April 27 on Treason, Bigamy and Adultery
Continue reading Ma Owned the Farm…
In the last episode, we learned about Toronto bookseller Magnus Shewan’s death in 1884 and that his niece Mrs. Fraser was surprised when she tried to claim her inheritance—at least according to the Toronto Daily News.
The Globe published a death notice on February 5, 1884:
DIED/ Suddenly, on Monday morning, Feb 4th, Magnus Shewan,
Continue reading The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The Will in the Way”, part two