Posts Tagged ‘resources’

OGS Members Only Resource: IOOF Insurance Papers Database

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Between 1875 and 1929, the Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) operated a life insurance program. Approximately 60,000 men from all across Canada applied. The program was eventually operated by Empire Life, who held all the application forms. A few years ago Empire Life gave these application forms to the OGS. We have spent nearly four years indexing these forms.

The information on the applications varies depending on the individual applying and the year of the application. Furthermore many men took out a second policy at a later date, and that form may say simply “See policy # …” or it may contain more up-to-date information. If you find several policies for one person, we suggest you purchase at least the one with the earliest policy date.

Each policy consists of a four page 8.5 x 11” document. Information you may expect to find on the application includes the following:

  • Health information
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Beneficiary (generally wife, parent, sibling)
  • Number of siblings and their health information
  • Parents
  • Grandparents (often including age at death but not names)
  • Applicant’s signature
  • Some applications have extra materials as well.

The actual application form contains a great deal more information about the applicant including health information, marital status, occupation, beneficiary of the policy, number of siblings, and a health status of siblings, parents, and grandparents. It also includes the signature of the applicant and may include interesting attachments.

This information could be very useful to someone researching their family history. As a member of the Ontario Genealogical Society, you can search the index to these forms.  Requests to purchase copies of the IOOF papers may be sent to the OGS Membership Coordinator at: membership@ogs.on.ca.  Each form requested costs $10.00 (taxes included).

For more information about this and other OGS Members only databases, please visit the Members Only section on the OGS website.

Please note: The presence of medical information in the application forms and the associated privacy concerns with regards to medical information mean that we cannot make available any forms that were created less than 100 years ago. These forms will become available as the 100 year mark is passed.

Atlases: Do you know your boundaries?

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Colton Map of Upper Canada 1855

How do you know if you are looking in the right place when searching for your Ontario ancestors? Did you know for instance, that there were actually two Ontario’s? When the Province of Ontario was created in 1867, a county of that name had been in existence, in one form or another, since 1792. When it was dissolved in 1974, southern portions of Ontario County would go into forming The Regional Municipality of Durham, while the northern portions would be subsumed by Simcoe County. Another example of shifting boundaries is Durham County. It too was dissolved 1974, portions of which now form the aforementioned Regional Municipality of Durham. Confusing is it not? No worries, we are here to help. What you need is a good atlas, and that is exactly what you will find in our library collection. Here is a wee sampling of the resources we offer:

1. County Atlases of Canada: A Descriptive Catalogue

a. National Archives of Canada National Map Collection

b. Call # 929.3 71 016 Natio 1970

2. Guide to southern Ontario place names for family researchers

a. Mary Kearns Trace

b. Call # 929.3 713 Trace 1986

3. Illustrated historical atlas of the County of Ontario, Ont., 1877

a. H. Beers and Co.; Cumming, Ross

b. O/S 911. 713 83 Atlas 1877

4. Historical atlas of Lanark and Renfrew Counties, Ontario, illustrated : H. Belden & Co., 1880-1881. Illustrated atlas of Lanark County, 1880 ; Illustrated atlas of Renfrew County, 1881 [both published by] H. Belden & Co., Toronto ; [with a] Map of the counties of Lanark and Renfrew from actual surveys under the direction of H.F. Walling, published by D.P. Putnam, Prescott, C.W., 1863

a. H. Belden and Co. [publisher] (Toronto, Ont.); D.P. Putnam [publisher] (Prescott, Ont.); H.F. Walling [engraver] (Prescott, Ont.); Cumming, Ross

b. Call # O/S 911. 713 82 Atlas 1880

5. Illustrated historical atlas of the county of Middlesex, Ont. Dedicated by special permission to His Excellency the Earl of Dufferin, K.P., K.C.B., Governor General.

a. H.R. Page and Co. [publisher] (Toronto, Ont.); Mika, Nick, 1912-; Mika, Helma, 1924-

b. Call # O/S 911. 713 25 Atlas 1878

6. Index for the Essex and Kent Counties historical atlas: [reprint edition] H. Belden & Co. Illustrated historical atlas of the counties of Essex & Kent, 1881

a. Dora Pineau

b. Call # 929.3 713 3 Pinea 1986

You will find a complete listing of all the atlases, and similar resources in our collection, by visiting our Catalogue. If you are looking for something online, here are two excellent resources.

1. The Canadian County Digital Atlas Project. This is an initiative undertaken by McGill University Libraries and something you should definitely check out if you are researching early Ontario ancestors.

2. The Changing Shape of Ontario: Guide to Boundaries, Names and Regional Government in Ontario, may be accessed through the Archives of Ontario’s website.

Once again, happy hunting!

Taking a stroll down memory lane this summer?

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Most of us have them, those boxes of old family photographs gathering dust in our basements, attics or where ever we tend to put things that we will “deal with later!”  The problem is of course, the longer you wait to sort them, the older they get.  It may not seem that long ago, but even those Polaroids from the ‘60’s are probably looking a bit the worse for wear by now.  At least there is a pretty good chance that you may actually know who the people in those photos are, but what about those really old family pictures that go way back, some as far as c.1900?  Chances are you’re a bit fuzzy on just exactly where the people in these photographs hang in your family tree. Knowing the date the picture was taken might help solve the mystery, but if you aren’t even sure of that, where do you go from there.  There is also the question of conservation, especially for those really old photographs.  How do you ensure that they are preserved for future generations? 

Our library collection, located at North York Central Library, contains several great resources to help you manage your family photographs.  Here are just a few to get you started: 

1. Dating old photographs, 1840-1929

Morris, Andrew J.: Moorshead, Halvor;

Call # 929.3 Dating 2004

2. Dating twentieth century photographs. 

Pols, Robert

Call # 929.3 Pols 2005

3. Preserving your family photographs. 

Taylor, Maureen A

 Call # 770.285 Tayl

4. Understanding old photographs. 

Pols, Robert

Call # 929.3 Pols 1995

5. Photography for the genealogist. 

Jonasson, Eric

Call # 770.28 Jonas

6. Photography for family historians. 

Pols, Robert

Call # 929.3 Pols 1998

7. The Ontario photographers list: vol.1, 1851-1900:vol. 2, 1901-1925. 

Phillips, Glen C.

Call #929.3 713 Phill

8. The early commercial photographers of Lanark & Renfrew Counties, Ontario 1850-1925. 

Wohler, J. Patrick; Wohler, Judy,

Call # 929.3 713 81

9. The Hugill Chronicles – a mosaic: father and son photographers, 1860-1900. Muskoka/Ingersoll, Ontario. 

Gibson, David L.

Call # 929.2 Hugill –G

Top Canadian Genealogy websites

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Never doubt that genealogy is popular. It’s hard to search for anything on the internet without stumbling across a couple of genealogy websites. Of course, with so many options, it’s hard to know where to start.

Image: Simon Howden, link below

Here are a few lists of Best Canadian Genealogy Sites to help you sort the good sites from those that just take up cyberspace.

Family Chronicle’s 25 Websites for Canadian Genealogy. Family Chronicle is one of several Canadian genealogy magazines published in Ontario.

Genealogy Links – Reference Sites at The Canadian Genealogy Centre recommends a series of mostly Canadian websites for genealogists. They also offer links to genealogical societies’ websites, including ours.

Genealogist Dave Obee’s Can Genealogy page offers a list of Canadian Genealogy sites.

If you’re looking for some sites to visit, check out what these people are recommending. If you already have your favourites, feel free to share them with us in the comments section.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At the Library: Family Histories and Family Charts

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Genealogy is a collaborative process. Research may sound like a solitary activity and it may conjure up the image of an individual reading microfiche in a darkened room,  but many genealogists learn a lot from discussing their research with others and from reading the work other genealogists have already done.

Our Family History collection and  our collection of Family Charts are designed to help you benefit from the research of others.

We love it when people turn their research into a book and OGS strives to collect any and all family histories relating to Ontario. If you’ve written your family history and wish to donate a copy to us, contact us, and let us know. We have about 3500 such books in our library. They are in our catalogue and can be searched for by family name.

A Family Chart or pedigree is similar to a family history in that it shows the generations of a family. We have over 2000 family charts (family trees) that genealogists have constructed based on  their research. We have indexed them and the database is searchable on our website. Once you’ve found names you are interested in, visit our provincial library and request them.

Take a look at these resources. You never know who you may find.