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Upcoming Talks

Oct
3
Tue
8:15 pm Basic Genealogy and Family History @ Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1
Basic Genealogy and Family History @ Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1
Oct 3 @ 8:15 pm – 10:15 pm
This 8-week evening course is on Tuesdays from October 3 to November 21. The course is designed for those just beginning to research or looking to upgrade basic research skills. The course will cover terminology,[...]
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Genealogy “Summer Camp” 2015

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

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The Neglected Gooseberry

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.

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A Toronto farm, 1799-1800

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.[1] I’ve dipped into this intriguing collection several times before, but this time I’ve systematically opened every Hollinger box and file

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The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The will in the way”, part three

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

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The Legacy of Magnus Shewan or “The Will in the Way”

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

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Toronto ancestors? Check the city directories.

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

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Genealogy Summer Camp 2012 rides into the sunset

The invasion is over! Well, it was a small invasion—ten Genealogy Summer Campers and their camp leaders visited archives and libraries all across Toronto last week.

Genealogy Summer Camp started on Sunday, August 12, with a picnic supper in the peaceful quad of the University of Toronto’s Massey College. We met the campers, who came

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Using cameras and scanners at archives and libraries in Toronto

Capturing images of original documents at a library or archives has never been easier. There are so many choices of technology it is tough to keep up—for both researchers and the library and archives staff who make policies about their use.*

Next week, I’ll be leading Genealogy Summer Camp participants to archives and libraries around

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Toronto’s Cultural Services collects art and artifacts

A life-size portrait of the undoubtedly charismatic Mayor Angus Morrison, painted by John Colin Forbes, greats visitors to the art vault. (City of Toronto Art Collection 01-02-01-02-00-A75-15)

On Saturday, May 26, 2012, as part of Doors Open Toronto, I got a peek inside the fine art vault containing a portion of the

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The Unfortunate Mr. Pipon

Charles Ashworth Pipon was not a politician or a celebrity, but the circumstances of his death and funeral were major news events in his hometown of Toronto in the summer of 1906.

Right, the modest stone of Charles Pipon in St. James Cemetery, Toronto. The granite that should top the marker is buried beside

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