Friday, June 26, 1998

My Great Grandfather attended a university in Canada about 1850. Where could I find a list of universities operating during that time?

The Universities operating in Ontario in the 1850's were the University of Toronto (est 1827), Queen's University (est 1841), and College of Bytown (now known as University of Ottawa, est 1848). Universities elsewhere in Canada included Quebec's McGill University and Bishop's University (est 1843), New Brunswick's University of New Brunwick (est 1785) and Mount Allison (est 1839), and Nova Scotia's University of King's College (est 1789) and Dalhousie University (est 1818).

Wednesday, June 17, 1998

Can you please provide an address for the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario?

While an internet site could not be found, a check of offline sources (c1992) finds: Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, Box 803, Waterloo, ON N2J 4C2. Plus -->Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, York Branch, 64 Marshall St, Barrie, ON L4H 3S8 & Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, The Twenty Chapter, Vineland, ON L0R 2C0

Sunday, June 14, 1998

My GGGGgrandparents emigrated to Canada from Amsterdam, Holland. They were in Ontario for about 2 years before moving on to the US. Are there any records that can be searched for the 1810-1822 period to find out which port they landed in, and where they originated? We've always been told that they were from Ireland, but they had sailed from Amsterdam

I would try LDS passenger emigration lists to start. Records for that time period are hit and miss. You might have more luck focusing on their life in the USA - did they apply for naturalization? What birth place did their death certificate provide? Where they the subject of any newspaper articles or biographies? Start from their deaths and work backwards. Be sure to focus on any known siblings as well - they may give a clue as to place of birth.

Wednesday, June 3, 1998

Where can I look for death/obituary information province-wide for early 1930's death information?

Newspapers & death registrations. Newspapers are accessible for all years depending upon the newspaper itself. See Newspapers for more information. Death registrations are available worldwide at LDS Family History Centres 72 years after the event. See Death Records for more information.

Tuesday, June 2, 1998

Could you please tell me where to send for information on birth records for 1858?

Global Genealogy covered this topic in their Global Gazette -- Hints & Lists For The Family Historian: The Challenge of Locating Vital Records in Ontario/Upper Canada/Canada West

Is there an e-mail address the United Church Archives?

It might be found on their web site at

Where can I find information and records on prisoners in Ontario penitentiaries between 1837 and 1851?

Inmate records are of an administrative nature and would be kept at the individual prisons. Obtaining this information may involve contacting either one specific prison or the prisons in the area involved. For instance Kingston Pennitentary has been the subject of many historical books on its first one hundred years and I believe that it has its own archives. To my knowledge there is no specific province-wide agency that has such info. {Special Thank you to Laura Carter for her help in answering this question}

I would contact the ministry of the Attorney General for penal system inquiries, even that long ago. They do have an "archive" division, because I have used it
'Archives Division'
720 Bay St
Toronto ON M5G 2K1
General Inquiry: 416-326-2220
TTY: 416-326-4012
Fax: 416-326-4007

How do I find out the name of ships that docked at Whitby Harbour during June, 1840?

The best place to start looking for possible records in this instance is by contacting the harbour master at Whitby and asking if log books were kept at that time and if so where they would be located. A lot of harbours have marine and historical societies where one might have access to archives including log books. Contact information for these types of lake front societies may be available at Great Lakes Shipping Genealogy Downward Bound {Special Thank you to Laura Carter for her help in answering this question}

Try the municipal offices of the town of Whitby, or try the Department of Transportation if they have a "Great Lakes" division. Maybe even Archives Ontario under shipping?

I have a family in the 1861 census, but would like to go back a previous census. It seems to be missing. Can't find either the 1851 or the 1842 census for that area

It's possible those census returns did not survive. If you've checked the book "Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm, 1666-1891" published by the National Archives of Canada and it does not include a census for the area you're seeking, you're likely out of luck. The National Archives is the caretaker of most Canadian census records. There are a few census records out there that are not at the National Archives but in order to find these you will have to do some research. Write to the genealogy and history societies in the area to learn if there was in fact a census that survived or if there are alternative resources available.

1851 London Township-St Patricks Rural Ward & 1878 London "East" just east of the city limits - are these 2 areas the same and known as Nilestown today?

No. St. Patrick's rural ward extended from Highway 4 (Richmond Street) on the west to the West Nissouri Township boundary on the east and Telfer Road (now Nine Mile Road) in the north to the North branch of the Thames River in the south. London East was the area east of Adelaide Street, and Nilestown is located in North Dorchester Township -- a bit of a distance away

Which area was considered as Western Canada during the 1830's and 1840's?

Ontario :-) From 1841-1867 Ontario was known as Canada West and the Province of Canada's western edge was the current Ontario-Michigan boundary line. From 1791-1841 Canada West was known as Upper Canada. Before 1791 it was part of Quebec

I have noticed many people who call themselves "professional genealogists". Some even appear to have a designation after their names. How does a person become a genealogist or researcher?

Becoming a genealogist or researcher is as simple as pursuing your interest in the family tree, however becoming a 'professional' takes quite a bit more time and money. Below are some instutions that offer accreditation in genealogy:
* National Institute For Genealogical Studies (Based in Toronto, Ontario)
* Board for Certification of Genealogists (Based in Washington, DC)
* Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes (Based in Halifax, NS -- focuses solely on the Canadian provinces of NS, NB, NF & PEI)

If interested in just pursuing instruction on genealogy research techniques:
* Brigham Young University
* National Genealogical Society

Could you please explain the breakdown of counties to townships, etc? What does "Concession" mean on the census list I retrieved?

A township is a geographic and/or municipal division of a county. Within each township boundary there will be numbered line roads which run in a common direction and numbered concession roads which run (usually) at right angles to the line roads. The exact location of an individual property -- a farm, for example -- can be determined by its Lot Number and the Number of the Line Road or Concession Road running across the front of the property -- usually a Concession Road. Many farm properties were further divided into halves or quarters -- i.e. "the north half, Lot 34, Concession 3". In the Prairie Provinces of Canada a township is an area of about 93 square kilometres and is divided into 36 sections. This does not apply elsewhere in Canada, Ontario, for example. It should also be noted that line and concession markings do not always indicate the existence of roads but, whatever roads were built, usually followed those surveys

In addition, Townships are used in genealogical research to narrow down the area in which to search. As most governmental records are first divided by county, then by township (such as census records) this would mean your first step in research would be to check township instead of the entire county. Using this method of township, then county, research cuts down on time spent needlessly looking in the 'wrong' area. Concessions are used to give an exact location of settlement. They are especially useful if your ancestor settled in a rural area (which means most of Ontario in the 1800's). Pictoral examples of Townships & Concessions