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
As part of the preparation for my presentation “Agriculture: Was Your Ancestor on the Cutting Edge?” at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s Conference 2016, I spent days reading a government report—five lengthy volumes. Sounds like fun, eh? Actually, I was riveted. Just ask the friends and relatives who happened to talk to me during those days—and
Continue reading A picture of Ontario farming in 1881
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
I’m pleased to announce that after a one-year hiatus, “Summer Camp” will return this year, starting with a get-together on Sunday evening, June 7, and running until Friday, June 12.
Genealogy Summer Campers are on the move every day of this innovative week long program. Each day, participants will travel as a group on public
Continue reading Genealogy “Summer Camp” 2015
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?
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
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