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
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
Sometimes it is what is left out of a will—intentionally or not—that provides the intriguing story.
Magnus Shewan was a Toronto bookseller who operated a shop in the arcade of St. Lawrence Market from about 1845, and from about 1862, on King Street. At the time of his death on February 4, 1884, the bookstore
Continue reading The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The Will in the Way”
The best thing we can do to get to the truth of an historical event or to understand an ancestor’s life is to look at all the information available. All the documentation we can get our hands on. All the background we can learn about the family, social, political, economic, even meteorological events that were
Continue reading A story… from one record