If you are relatively new to this game, but are serious in your
endeavors, then I suggest you make every effort to check the
following which are usually available thru your local Mormon's
or gov't library. Without the Mormon's, genealogy would be in
the dark ages (you don't have to be a member). I usually
relate these tips to Canadian sources but they apply to most
countries. (See abbreviation list at end.)
Relatives - they can save you a lot of work and this quest is a
great excuse to renew long-lost ties. These people are the only
ones who may have old photos, letters and the family Bible.
Every genealogist wishes they'd asked their relatives more
questions when they were still alive.
IGI - A fast way to point you in the right direction.
Census - You want to locate your family on every census. Many are
indexed. They often show kids that d. young and give details
you will never get from another source. They give names, ages,
jobs, birth location, sometimes marriage and immigration date,
and often the farm or street location.
British census data generally begins 1841.
1881 is indexed and available on Cd from the Mormons
Most Ont Twps have data for every 10 years from 1851-1901.
1842 census- only listed heads of the families; spotty.
1851 was in fact done in Jan 1852.
1861 good agricultural details.
1871 census has been indexed by county and then by page for
each township. This index is on-line but as with many
computer based systems a spelling variation may cause
problems. www.archives.ca/02/02010802_E.html The indexes
are also available at most Ont lib's and the PAC which has
the actual census films.
1881 is indexed and available on CD from the Mormons.
Again, use wildcards to avoid spelling problems in searching.
1901 gives b. dates but this should be viewed with caution; if
you fudged your age when you wed you had to maintain it.
1940, Aug; Conscription census of males over 16. Stats Cda,
Nat'l Reg'n Records; 951-9483. $50/ successfull search.
You must prove the person is dec'd. Have soundex by Prov.
1988 OGS 'Families' has details. Gives age, birth date,
parents, when emigrated and from.
Maps - the Scottish Ordnance Survey even shows farms and are
inexpensive. Map Room, Nat'l Lib of Scot, 137 Causewayside,
Edinburgh EH9 1PH, 131-667-7848 email@example.com
Other maps give topographical details. Some areas had
detailed maps for legal reasons; kept at WRH.
Ireland; the NLC has great Ordnance Maps; for 1/10th the price.
Ont; 'Illustrated Historical Atlas for the County of ---';
detailed twp maps, often with names and some biographies.
They were done c1880 and sometimes give b. and immigration
details in the names index and, their maps show the farm and
it's nearest town and cemeteries.
Deeds - very few people owned land in Scotland.
Ont is indexed by Twp. These show when the family purchased
and sold their farm. You may also find Wills and other family
Alphabetical index gives the location (lot and concession) of
an individual's lands.
Abstract (or summary) pages are indexed by location and give
the Instrument Numbers for the actual Bill of Sale or Will that
The Mormons have the abstact pages on film. AO has the 1800's
records on ILL, and the local Land Registry Office address for
later details and the actual transfer documents.
Ont Land Index - Orig land owners; indexed by surname and by twp.
Mormons, PAC and AO.
Land Patents and Petitions - c1790-c1830; can be a great source.
PAC has indexes to the Upper Cda (Ont) and Lower Cda (Que)
Petitions (the original owner's petition to the Lt-Gov'r in
Council) for land. These can give valuable details of the
immigrants. The AO has petitions to Comm'r of Crown Lands.
Twp Papers - by location. Can be very informative if your family
encountered land problems; available at AO.
Heir and Devisee Comm'n; indexed 1797-1804 at PAC; 1805-1911 at
AO. These transferred early land grants to relatives of
United Empire Loyalists.
Assessment and Land Tax - PAC and AO.
Directories - for cities and for rural areas, late 1800's; NLC
Church Records (OPR's) -
Scotland is indexed. But, remember not everyone bothered
to register as this often cost money. It was particularly
deficient during the Scottish religious upheavals of the early
and mid 1800's when registration in many areas fell to almost
zero. As well, few deaths were ever noted pre-1855.
Ont; 'Checklist of Parish Registers at PAC' (incomplete).
A major roadblock exits in Ont without a good list of these
parish registers. The OGS started an index project but I
believe it died. Depending on the church and its area, some
OPR's are available. Check the local Diocese and Church
Archives. Most old Presbyterian Ch records are at the United
Ch Archives in Toronto but some remain with the Presby Ch
Archives. You should also check the local Anglican Ch records
as it was the official religion of the time. The Wesleyan
Methodist 'Christian Guardian' is indexed from 1829 (bapt's
from 1840's; available at the United Ch Archives. The Baptist
'Christian Messenger' and 'Cdn Baptist' from 1844 were indexed
by the Hamilton OGS. The 'Presby'n Record' is at the PAC from
1844; not indexed. Some Church magazines published obits and
many were indexed and published by McKenzie, and also by Reid.
(available at the Mormons, the Ottawa Pub Lib and PAC).
District Marriage Registers began in 1793, but were rarely used
as a fee was required. In 1831 it became compulsory for
Dissenters to obtain this licence. Districts were; Bathurst,
Brock, Colborne, Huron, Johnstown, London, Newcastle, Gore,
Home, Ottawa, Prince Edward, Talbot, Victoria. Most are
indexed and are available at the Mormons, AO and PAC.
Marriage Bonds of Ont (1803-1834); by Wilson, Thos/B; 1985;
NLC ref CS88 06 W56 rare (PAC has on card index)
County Marriage Registers - began in 1858 (but some seem to start
c1840) Indexes at PAC and certs on Mormon films. AO has index
of some Marr Licences (1853-1911)
Civil (or gov't) Registration - of b.m.d.'s. (I've got almost all
of the Scottish and Ontario ones, so contact me before paying
Scotland began 1855; great details.
Ont; began in 1869 but, wasn't enforced on the frontier where
settlers had more to worry about. It's estimated that half
the events weren't recorded during the 1st two decades. The
Mormons and Ont Archives have the indexes and certificates
until the early 1900's. Later ones must be ordered from the
Ont Gov't for $25. Thunderbay office 1-800-461-2156
Locality fiche - all SLC info by location; available on-line.
They also have country booklets which provide research tips for
your search area.
Wills (Surrogate Court) - indexed by county; AO and Mormons
United Empire Loyalists - claims book at PAC
Cemeteries; most of Ont has been indexed by the OGS. They have a
cemetery web site but no dates or ages are given as they want
you to buy their books. If you have a common name this is both
expensive and silly as you likely only want one entry. I don't
like charging and believe this is a petty, counter-productive
attitude. Many of their books can be seen at the PAC or at a
www.interment.net/can/on (more details but fewer locations)
Newspapers - an index of surviving papers is available at the NLC
and the AO (better one). Obits can be useful but were written
by relatives who may have guessed with the info.
Old magazines (such as the 'Gentleman's Mag' in Britain) acted
like a Who's Who. The Scots Magazine (1739-1826) includes
many b.m.d. and is indexed.
Immigration lists - begin c1880; some indexed; PAC
Military records; PAC
Local area Archives, Library, Historical Society, Museum and Town
Hall for data. Local historical books give a real sense of the
times even if your family isn't mentioned. Check the Mormon's
'Locality' disc or their on-line library.
Universities often have local history dept's. The Univ of
Guelph, Ont claims to have the best Scottish collection in
North America. Many other similar libraries.
National Galleries have post cards of old paintings which give
a picture of the times.
Most major libraries have their catalogues on-line.
Cdn Biographical Index (a Who's Who)
MD Colleges in 1800's (all have their own Archives)
Trinity in Toronto
U of Tor
Victoria in Coburg (United Ch Archives)
McGill in Montreal
College of Physicians and Surgeons 1-800-268-7096 ext'n 461
Records start 1866
Misc surname index books; eg. People of Ontario and the Ontario
Register. (similar to Who's Who)
Don't be afraid to show your ignorance (we all had to start
sometime) and learn to ask the right questions. Especially
remember that you don't learn anything while you're talking and
that the other person doesn't really give a damn about your family
details. Make good notes and list where you found the data as 2
months from now you'll have forgotten (like the rest of us did).
I may have your McG family already done so contact me with as
much info, particularily names of spouses pre-1880, and I'll check.
I'd also like to know your postal address (e-mails tend to change).
This is in your interest. Many people contact me and it would be
a shame if later on some relative couldn't reach you. Don't worry
-I'll only give your address and pho # to relatives. And, the more
of your family details I have the easier it will be to link others to
you. I'm amazed at the high percentage of people I give pages of
data to, who never send me any info in return. I doubt if their
family's history is a state secret. I could never have gotten this
far without sharing.
Any info I give you should be used only as a starting point. I
make mistakes too and sometimes the details have come from
others. So check everything and let me know of errors and
omissions so I can update my files.
For those of you with the time and money to add to the serious
research of our clan, there remain many challenges. This mainly
involves careful, plodding, often boring work, which will likely
only benefit someone else - but someone has to do it. Most of it
can be done from Mormon films but there are a few big projects
which would give you a great reason to enjoy Edinburgh.
Abbrevs and Locations:
AO; Archives of Ont, Toronto 1-800-668-9933
Many of their records are available on ILL.
IGI; International Genealogical Index (Mormon's)
ILL; inter-library loan
NLC; Nat'l Lib of Cda
OGS; Ontario Genealogical Society; Toronto and local branches.
OPR; Old Parish Registers; i.e. church records
PAC; Public Archives of Cda. Often available on ILL.
SLC; Salt Lake City; i.e. Mormons
WRH; West Registry House, Edinburgh