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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My AncestryDNA Tests Switched to the New Algorithm Today ... Wonder What We'll Find

At some point late this morning or early afternoon my AncestryDNA tests were switched to the "new algorithm." I was working on some DNA stuff late last night/early this morning so I knew it didn't happen while I slept since I didn't go to bed until 3:30 a.m.

Around about April 19, Ancestry and various genealogy DNA bloggers started talking about this change and that it would be happening in "about one to two weeks."

I discovered this change when I went back to check something about 10 minutes ago. I haven't clicked further yet to see what has changed. At least I followed the advice to star and/or add notes to those entries I did not want to forget about if I lost them after the algorithm change.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Third Tip for Searching: Reel Content Specifics for Some LAC Digitized Microfilm Collections

I did not get much time this past week to work on the promised post about the Process of Searching for Land Patents so in the meantime here is another tip which should work for any LAC microfilm collection that is also available through the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.

Part of the problem when working with the digitized microfilm collections of the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) is that for the most part all you see is a list of reel codes with no descriptions of what is on each "film." (Remember, the digitized microfilm of the LAC is located on two websites: the Héritage website and the archived LAC website.)
Heir and Devisee at Héritage

At the Héritage website, you would think the "About" tab for a particular collection would contain a detail like that. Most of the time it does not. It simply tells you about the records not how they are organized on the microfilm. 

Every so often an "About" does mention what is on the reels for that collection but it is very generalized. That is the case of the Heir and Devisee digitized collection. There is actually a list of what volumes are on which reel but nothing to tell you what a particular volume number contains so you still do not have a clear understanding of what you are working with.
Heir and Devisee at LAC Archives Catalog

Using the MIKAN number (see my Two Tips post) listed for the collection and doing an Advanced search of the Archives Catalog over at the main LAC website, you bring up a similar description for the collection. The Archives catalog entry does list which reel numbers are associated with the collection but again not one detail for what is on which film.

Here's My Tip.
If a particular LAC microfilm collection is available through the Family History Catalog at the FamilySearch website, check the FHL catalog entry. It often has more details of regarding what is on which film. But because the FHL catalog entry does not make mention of the LAC reel number you have to compare the microfilm listings from both sites to see the whole picture.

Catalog listing for the same collection at FamilySearch.


So from the About tab for the Heir and Devisee digitized collection at the ritage website, we learn that film H-1133 contains vol. 1-6.

From the About tab of the Heir and Devisee Collection at Héritage



Microfilm listing for the same collection at FamilySearch.
Comparing that information to film listing of the entry in the Family History Catalog for that collection we learn that those volumes are "Index of location certificates issued by the Land Boards v. 1 pre-1804 Heir and Devisee Commission records Eastern District v. 2 1803-1804 v. 3 1803? v. 4 1797-1802 (partial index) v. 5 1809-1841 v. 6 1785-1804." And, of course, we learn the FHL microfilm number for that reel known at the LAC as H-1133.

Now we have an understanding of what we are looking at and can finally utilize the collection with less hassle and involving less time.

As I said at the start of this post, this tip should work for any LAC microfilm collection available through the Family History Library.

Lastly, don't get me wrong. I love that formerly hard to access historical/genealogical collections are being made more accessible but what I am pointing out is that the end-user needs to be thought of in this process.

Sitting at home (or where ever) the end-user (you/me) does not have access to long-existing paper finding aids sitting on a shelf in an archive/library. These vital pieces of the puzzle are necessary to understanding collection organization and must be put online in some form also. AND that the steps needed (look here, check this, then look there) to properly utilize a collection are clearly indicated and follow-able on the website.

I hope this tip helps. Now I'll get back to that other post.

©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Update: The Next Upper Canada Land Records Post is Coming Soon ... I Promise

I realize that there are quite a few of you waiting for the promised next post on Upper Canada Land Records. It is in the works but the day after the last post we had a family emergency involving a hospital stay. And then my laptop had an emergency of its own with its power cord.

Everyone is recovering now, including the laptop I think. I will be polishing up the promised post and double checking the links so the new plan is to release it next week.

Thank you for your patience.


©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Gone Researching's Cheat Sheet to the Digitized Upper Canada Land Books at the Héritage website

Upper Canada Land Books
(with ad covered up)
So last week I wrote about a handful of digitized microfilms related to the Upper Canada Land Petitions from the Library and Archives of Canada. Of these digitized microfilms collections a couple collections have online indexes while some have microfilms of card index sets digitized, and yet others have no index at all. Index or not what they all have in common is lists or tables of microfilm numbers without any quick visual clues as to what each "film" contains.

After I searched for my people making notes of what was on each "film" and where (which image number) each specific volume started, I realized I had the beginning of a cheat sheet for this collection and decided to share it. My plan was to just make a cheat sheet for the digitized microfilm of the actual books but I discovered a webpage with a guide to the other half of the "films" containing the card index sets. Using both my "cheat sheet" and the other guide should save you time searching.

The collection known online as the Upper Canada Land Books at the Héritage website is known in the LAC's catalog as Land Minute Books of the Executive Council, 1787 – 1841 (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E.) 


This collection contains Minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, 1787-1841. These minute books are commonly called “Land Books” which record the petitions read and decisions made (approved or dismissed) regarding those petitions. You will also see some patents being surrendered. (Note: Usually you do not learn from these books what location of land an individual was given.) Originally labeled volumes A through U, later these volumes were assigned volume numbers 18-39 for cataloging. Also included are the Minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive council of the united Province of Canada, 1841-1867. Again, originally labeled using letters and later given the volume numbers 40-48 for cataloging.

Though there is no online index to this collection at this time, there actually are two index options. First, these particular minute/land book volumes each start with its own nominal index of petitioners. Second, there are digitized microfilm of two card index sets (see below) that index these records.

Regardless of the two index options to use, you still have to find the book and page you seek. So rather click around aimlessly this "cheat sheet" shows you where each individual volume starts and what time frame is covered by each volume. (The gray text volumes listed below belong to other collections.)

Upper Canada Land Books (Minute Books) Microfilm Reels

  • C-100  v. 18-19
    image 0001 vol. K (23 Mar 1838 - 27 Jul 1838) continued 
    image 0044 vol. L (28 Jul 1838 - )

    image 0320 vol. M (27 Apr 1839 - )

    image 0662 vol. Selections from Quebec Land Books A & B (1787 - 1791)
    image 0886 vol. A (8 Jul 1792 - 27 Jun 1796)
  • C-101  v. 19-23
    image 0001 vol. A continued at page 233
    image 0084 vol. B (1 Oct 1796 - 7 Apr 1797)
    image 0269 vol. C (11 Apr 1797 - 19 Jan 1802)
    image 0480 vol. D (22 Dec 1797 - 22 Jun 1802) note: finding aid says 23 May 1798 - 22 Jun 1802
    image 0927 vol. E (23 Jun 1802 - 28 Mar 1804)
  • C-102  v. 23-27
    image 0001 vol. E continued at page 112
    image 0152 vol. F (2 Apr 1804 - 27 Feb 1806)
    image 0389 vol. G (28 Feb 1806 - 29 Mar 1808)
    image 0669 vol. H (9 Apr 1808 - 23 Jan 1811)
    image 0905 vol. I (12 Feb 1811 - 10 Aug 1816)
  • C-103  v. 27-30
    image 0001 vol. I continued at page 138
    image 0131 vol. J (13 Aug 1816 - 10 Feb 1819)
    image 0440 vol. K (25 Feb 1819 - 27 Dec 1820)
    image 0755 vol. L (16 Jan 1821 - 4 Feb 1824)
  • C-104  v. 30-33
    image 0001 vol. L continued at page 485
    image 0045 vol. M (9 Feb 1824 - 13 Dec 1826)
    image 0467 vol. N (3 Jan 1827 - 20 May 1829)
    image 0785 vol. O (2 Jun 1829 - 23 Aug 1831)
  • C-105  v. 33-36
    image 0001 vol. O continued at page 362
    image 0095 vol. P (1 Sep 1831 - 12 Mar 1833)
    image 0362 vol. Q (21 Mar 1833 - 28 Mar 1835)
    image 0737 vol. R (2 Apr 1835 - 16 Jun 1836)
  • C-106  v. 36-39
    image 0001 vol. R continued at page 429
    image 0038 vol. S (20 Jun 1836 - 27 Jul 1837)
    image 0418 vol. T (10 Aug 1837 - 27 Jun 1839)
    image 0768 vol. U (4 Jul 1839 0 6 Feb 1841)
  • C-107  v. 39-42
    image 0001 vol. U continued at page 389
    image 0172 vol. A (15 Mar 1841 - 13 Aug 1842) note: finding aid says 15 Mar 1841 - 22 Dec 1839
    image 0458 vol. B (10 Jan 1843 - 27 Sep 1844)
    image 0829 vol. C (4 Nov 1844 - 28 Dec 1846)
  • C-108  v. 42-45
    image 0001 vol. C continued at page 351
    image 0174 vol. D (8 Jan 1847 - 19 Aug 1848)
    image 0551 vol. E (23 Aug 1848 - 8 Oct 1850)
    image 0931 vol. F (11 Oct 1850 - 30 Dec 1852)
  • C-109  v. 45-47
    image 0001 vol. F continued at page 198
    image 0254 vol. G (19 Jan 1853 - 27 Mar 1855)
    image 0596 vol. H (4 Apr 1855 - 10 Jul 1858)
  • C-110  v. 47-48
    image 0001 vol. H continued at page 652
    image 0020 vol. I (18 Aug 1858 - 31 May 1867)
    image 0305 vol. A (13 Feb 1841 - 11 Oct 1842)
    image 0584 vol. B (1 Nov 1842 - 29 Jun 1843)

Finding Aid MSS1802 also known as Upper Canada Land Index

Also part of this collection is Finding Aid MSS1802 Index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and the Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) commonly called the Upper Canada Land Index. It consists of two card index sets that as the title says indexes two collections. (Note: The online index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions does not index these Minute/Land Books.)

  • H-1976, H-1977, H-1978
    A supplementary card index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) which was filmed in 1991.

  • C-10810 to C-10836
    A card index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) which was filmed in 1981.

The FamilySearch Research Wiki Ontario Land Records Land Books and Petitions Index Film Numbers has a helpful list (see the pink column on the right) that breaks down what cards/names are on each "microfilm" of these card index sets making up Finding Aid MSS1802. So rather than duplicate something that already exists I simply point you to that aid for the card index sets.


When you are at the Archives of Ontario: For Upper Canada Land Books diffusion material see inventory D 355 for microfilm numbers. (AO refers to this collection as RG1 E1 at National Archives but LAC has it as formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E.) At the Archives of Ontario, these card index films (both sets) are part of Upper Canada Land Petitions diffusion material D 29 see user’s guide to Upper Canada Land Petitions and Land Books for detailed descriptions and microfilms.

I hope this cheat sheet helps you. Hopefully, one day we will get a better website interface for these digitized microfilm collections.

Finally, there is yet one more article/post to come that goes with what became a series on Upper Canada Land Records Research.


©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Digging Deeper into Digitized Microfilm at Library and Archives of Canada: Indexed and Non-Indexed Items Related to Upper Canada Land Petitions

In the process of writing about some more online resources for early Ontario I realized my article/post would be better split up into at least two but maybe three articles/posts. Here's the second of those articles/posts. This is sort of long but I think worth it.

Library and Archives of Canada
Current Website
So you go to the digitized microfilm websites for the Library and Archives of Canada, yes there are two, select an interesting collection and you see columns or tables of "coded" digitized microfilm ... possibly even pages of these for a single collection.

And since this collection has no online index, you wonder what is sitting there? What am I missing out on? So you click and peek, then click more and eventually find some descriptions telling you about what you've seen but some collections do not seem to explain much.

Let me save you time and tell you what I learned about a handful of the digitized microfilm collections related to land records for what is now Ontario (formerly Canada West formerly Upper Canada.)

Library and Archives of Canada
Archived website
First, in general, there is a lot out there but not everything mind you. Second, you are not going to find these things if you expect everything to be delivered with a few keystrokes, an enter key and a mouse click. You have got to explore and browse (safely keeping your wits about you so you don't get virus/malware by accidentally clicking on an ad) and put in a little effort to see what libraries, archives, museums and even societies are adding to their websites.

So I made room in my schedule and returned once again to the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) website to investigate further. As I stated above LAC uses two different websites to hold its digitized microfilm rather than have the digitized film on its current LAC website. The digitized microfilm sits at the archived Library and Archives Canada website and the Héritage website. (You can tell the difference between the current LAC website and the archived website by the color -- blue for the current and red for the archived.) The online indexes for some of the LAC digitized microfilm collections are located at the current LAC website at the Genealogy and Family History page. So in reality there are three websites involved in this adventure.

Héritage website
So what is what with that digitized microfilm? Rather than write a paragraph or two about each collection I decided to format what I learned into hopefully a clear and concise summary. This summary tells you the online title of the collection; if there is an online index; the website holding the digitized microfilm with a direct link; the title used in the catalog with collection codes and MIKAN number from LAC; the number of microfilm reels or the microfilm numbers with a brief description; any notes I made in regards to the collection; and whether the Archives of Ontario has microfilm copies of that collection.

I tried to be thorough so hopefully I did not make any errors. See yesterday's post on two tips for searching the catalogs of the Archives of Ontario and the Library and Archives of Canada.


Upper Canada Land Petitions, 1763-1865
Online Index: Yes, at LAC website (info and search)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at archived LAC website
Land Submissions to Executive Council 1783-1865, predominant 1783-1841 (formerly RG1 L3 and RG1 L6B now R10875-4-5-E), MIKAN 205131
327 Reels:  contain the petitions and related records submitted to the Executive Council, sitting as a land committee in the performance of its land disposal functions. The “land committee” dealt with all manner of petitions for grants and leases, requests for title deeds and reports from the Surveyor General or, after 1827, the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Note: The Upper Canada Land Petitions 1763-1865 (formerly RG1 L3 and RG1 L6B now R10875-4-5-E) along with the Upper Canada Sundries 1766-1841 (formerly RG5 A1 now R10875-2-1-E) were electronically indexed  and are available in one index at the LAC website under Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865. The digitized microfilm for the Upper Canada Land Petitions is located at the archived LAC website.

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Land Petitions diffusion material D 29 see user’s guide to Upper Canada Land Petitions and Land Books for detailed descriptions and microfilms. (Microfilm numbering systems are different at just about every archive/library.) At AO, D 29 also includes the two card index sets mentioned below under Upper Canada Land Books which indexes both the petitions and land books.


Upper Canada Sundries
Online Index: Yes, at LAC website (info and search)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Civil Secretary’s Correspondence, Upper Canada, Upper Canada Sundries, 1766-1841 (formerly RG5 A1 now R10875-2-1-E), MIKAN 125539
94 Reels:  The series consists of letters, petitions, reports, returns and schedules, certificates, accounts, warrants, legal opinions, instructions and regulations, proclamations and other documents received by the Civil Secretary of Upper Canada, 1791-1841.

Note: The Upper Canada Land Petitions 1763-1865 (formerly RG1 L3 and RG1 L6B now R10875-4-5-E) along with the Upper Canada Sundries 1766-1841 (formerly RG5 A1 now R10875-2-1-E) were electronically indexed  and are available in one index at the LAC website under Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865. The digitized microfilm for the Upper Canada Sundries is located at the Héritage website. The online digital microfilm for this collection references RG1 L1 instead of RG5 A1 and I am not sure why there is a discrepancy.

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Sundries diffusion material see inventory D 23 for microfilm numbers. In addition, the Archives of Ontario has a couple of related collections not at LAC so see the Archives Descriptive Database for the Sundries to learn more.


Minutes and Records of the Land Boards Accumulated by the Executive Council Office
Online Index: Yes, at LAC website (info and search)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Minutes and Records of the Land Boards Accumulated by the Executive Council Office, 1765-1804 (formerly RG1 L4 now R10875-7-0-E), MIKAN 205141
Reels:  H-1760, H-1761 contain the card index to the minutes and records in this collection. Each card gives, name, location, summary, collection, volume and page and microfilm reel. Check all alternate spellings.
Reels:  C-14026, C-14027, C-14028 contain the minutes and records of the land boards of the Hesse, Nassau, Luneburg and Mecklenburg Districts and their successors following subdivision of the districts, 1765-1804.

Note: The Minutes and Records of the Land Boards Accumulated by the Executive Council Office, 1765-1804 (formerly RG1 L4 now R10875-7-0-E) was electronically indexed and is available at the LAC website, under Land Boards of Upper Canada 1765-1804. (See above.)

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Land Board Minutes and Records diffusion material see inventory D 359 for microfilm numbers. In addition, the Archives of Ontario has a couple of related collections not at LAC so see the Archives Descriptive Database for the Land Board Minutes to learn more.


Upper Canada Land Books
Online Index: No (but card index is microfilm is digitized see below)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Land Minute Books  of the Executive Council, 1787 – 1841 (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E), MIKAN 205068
Finding Aid MSS1802 Index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and the Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) commonly called the Upper Canada Land Index.
Reels:  C-100, C-101, C-102, C-103, C-104, C-105, C-106, C-107, C-108, C-109, C-110 contain Minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, 1787-1841. These records are commonly called the “Land Books.” Originally labeled volumes A through U later these volumes were assigned  volume numbers 18-39 for cataloging. Also included are the Minutes of the Land Committee of the Executive council of the united Province of Canada, 1841-1867. Again, originally labeled using letters and later given the volume numbers 40-48 for cataloging. Each volume starts with nominal index of petitioners.
Reels:  H-1976, H-1977, H-1978 contain a supplementary card index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) which was filmed in 1991.
Reels: C-10810 thru C-10836 contain a card index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions (RG1 L3) and Executive Council Minute Books on Land Matters (formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E) which was filmed in 1981.

Note:  Be  thorough if you use these and check both card indexes which make up Finding Aid MSS1802. Though these two card index sets include both the Upper Canada Land Books and the Upper Canada Land Petitions, the online index to the Upper Canada Land Petitions does not include these Upper Canada Land Books.

At the Archives of Ontario:  Upper Canada Land Books diffusion material see inventory D 355 for microfilm numbers. (AO refers to this collection as RG1 E1 at National Archives but LAC has it as formerly RG1 L1 now R10875-2-1-E.) At the Archives of Ontario, these card index films (both sets) are part of Upper Canada Land Petitions diffusion material D 29 see user’s guide to Upper Canada Land Petitions and Land Books for detailed descriptions and microfilms.

See my next article/post for a “cheat sheet” to this digital microfilm collection.


Index to Grants, Deeds, Leases and Licenses of Occupation Unclaimed or Impounded in the Executive Council Office
Online Index: No (this digitized microfilm is a card index)
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Finding Aid MSS1803 (card index) to Grants, Deeds, Leases and Licenses of Occupation, Unclaimed or Impounded in the Executive Council Office, 1791-1897, predominant 1791-1848 (formerly RG1 L2 now R10875-6-9-E), MIKAN 205137
Reels:  C-11961, C-11962, C-11963 contain the Finding Aid MSS1803 card index by name (on reels 11961 and 11962) and by township (on reels 11962 and 11963). Do read the description at the beginning of the reel to learn how to read the cards and the limitations of the index. This is a card index to a collection (which is not microfilmed) that consists of two distinct types of documents: deeds for grants and leases of land, surrendered to or impounded by the Executive Council of Upper Canada for a variety of reasons; and the technical descriptions of unclaimed grants and leases. See the catalog description for further information.

At the Archives of Ontario, No.


Land Documents Concerning Quebec, Upper and Lower Canada, Canada East and Canada West and Canada
Online Index: No
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Registrar General, Land Documents, 1763-1952 (formerly RG68 now R1002-147-2-E), MIKAN 787982
53 reels:  originals and registers containing copies of leases, releases, deeds, grants, surrenders, sales, letters patent of land and related documents for Crown and Clergy Reserves, Indian and Ordnance Land, Dominion Land, etc.

At the Archives of Ontario, No.


Licenses, Upper and Lower Canada, Canada East and Canada West and Ontario, 1817-1867
Online Index: No
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Registrar General, Licenses, 1817-1867 (formerly RG68 now R1002-82-0-E), MIKAN 192630
Reels:  C-3947, C-3948, C-3952 contain registers of licenses for the practice of physic surgery and midwifery, register of medical licenses, returns of licenses issued for innkeepers, billards and wholesalers in Upper Canada. There is a note that other items may have been filmed on these films so you have to look for the start of the register you seek on the “film.”

At the Archives of Ontario, No.


Heir and Devisee
Online Index: No
Digitized Microfilm: Yes, at Héritage website
Records of the Heir and Devisee Commission Accumulated by the Executive Council, 1777-1854 (formerly RG1 L5 now R10875-8-2-E), MIKAN 205142
21 Reels:  consists of records of the Heir and Devisee Commission forwarded to the Executive Council Office in the course of business, as well as records accumulated by the Executive Council Office after the demise of the first Commission in 1805. Records include minutes, reports and recommendations, notices of claims, and documentation submitted in support of claims (such as bonds, certification, location tickets and affidavits.)

At the Archives of Ontario:  First Heir and Devisee Commission diffusion material see finding aid D 352 for microfilm numbers. In addition, the Archives of Ontario holds the similar records for the later (sometimes referred to as Second) Heir and Devisee Commission. See the Archives of Ontario's Archives Descriptive Database for more information



These primarily land related digitized microfilm collections that I have highlighted are but a few of those available. There are other collections covering other aspects for what became Ontario, such as the Marriage Bonds that I mentioned in an earlier post. There are also many other online digitized microfilm collections for the other provinces of Canada. Some of those digitized microfilm collections even have online indexes available so check out the Genealogy and Family History page at the current LAC website.

I plan to post the third article next week.


©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Two Tips for Searching the Holdings of Two Canadian Archives from their Websites

In the process of writing about some more online resources for early Ontario I realized my article/post would be better split up into at least two but maybe three articles/posts. Here's the first of those articles/posts.

I don't know about you but I find most online catalogs for the holdings of libraries fairly easy to search. There are enough clearly labeled, understandable search filters in order to make the search engine do what you want it to do -- find meaningful results. But when it comes to the online search/databases for the holdings of archives I seem to pull out more hair than results. These particular search engines do not seem to be so public-friendly.

Here are two things I learned to draw some results out instead of hair. Of course, if items have not been added to the online catalog by the archive/library no amount of searching will find them.

Do you want to find out what the Archives of Ontario has that is from other libraries/archives, such as the Library and Archives of Canada or elsewhere? Knowing this could save you a trip, or allow you to spend more time on collections not available by other means.

Archives of Ontario
At the Archives of Ontario website's Archives Descriptive Database, go to the Advanced Search and use the "Search Groups of Archival Records" option. Once there, change the Levels of Description from "All Levels" to "Diffusion Microfilm" option. (Duplicated items from other libraries/archives are often on microfilm.) If you want to see results from any location leave all other filter fields blank and hit search. As of yesterday, this gave me 401 results of items that originate from the holdings of other libraries/archives/entities.

Want to see what items came from just a particular place? Along with "Diffusion Microfilm" for the Levels of Description, enter that particular place in the keyword field. The trick to this is knowing/realizing what name the Archives of Ontario used for that originating entity. In the case of the Library and Archives of Ontario, enter "National Archives of Canada" in the keyword field. As of yesterday, this gave me 55 results.

I knew I had used some materials during my 2012 Archives of Ontario visit that are now digitized by the Library and Archives of Canada, I just needed to find the online description to confirm it and searching by item name was not working. (I will not say how long this took for me to solve.)

I am not positive if the Archives of Ontario has any items from the Library portion of the Library and Archives of Canada or not. If the Archives of Ontario does, you should find them in the non-specific "Diffusion Microfilm" search. Once you learn how the Archives of Ontario named the originating entity you can revise your search to just focus on that one place.

Do you want to know an alternate way to bring a description up for a collection? This might not work everywhere but there might be a similar cataloging feature that works in your favor.

Library and Archives of Canada
Now over at the Library and Archives of Canada's website, I was having a problem bringing up a collection description in the Archives Search. From the online digitized microfilm description information I tried the RG number, I tried the name of the collection and nothing was working.

So then I realized that the online digitized microfilm description showed a MIKAN number. I seem to have remembered this number was unique and sure enough under the Archives Search using Advanced Search I could change the "any keyword" to "MIKAN number" and enter just the MIKAN number to find the description result I wanted.

I wondered what exactly a MIKAN number was so I searched for the answer. From one of the results -- the LAC's own blog site, I learned that "MIKAN is a computer system for searching, creating, and modifying information about archival materials." The MIKAN system automatically assigns a unique record number to a record at all levels of description (fonds, series, accession, file, item.) It gets placed on everything because it is mandatory field. I don't know if the MIKAN system is used by all (or just some) Canadian archives, or if other archives elsewhere use it or a similar system. Regardless, I doubt a MIKAN number for an item at one facility would be the same at another.

I think part of the problem I was having in this case is that the online collection name does not always exactly match the collection name in the holdings. Another problem is that quite a few of the Archives descriptions appear to be in the process of revision.

So if you are having problems searching a catalog, take a moment to study the advanced search interface to see if you can determine what filter fields you have to work with and try an alternate method. Of course, see if there are any help guides or videos available to view. If these do not hold your answers, often there is a way you can contact a library/archive staff representative and ask a question. But you may need to wait for an answer, especially if you are searching after hours.

Hopefully tomorrow I will post the article I intended to write.

©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Early Protestants in Early Canada? Check the Marriage Bonds 1779 - 1858, Upper & Lower Canada

Library and Archives Canada
I am working very hard at balancing life and my "planned genealogy tasks" these days. But one find is leading to another and now yet another. Last year was a busy year and it appears I may have missed seeing/hearing of a third digitized collection for Canada.

So I took a small pause from working on/updating what is currently in my genealogy program to share yet another discovery.

Over at the Library and Archives of Canada in the Genealogy and Family History area, there are quite a few digitized collections. Under the Births, Marriages and Deaths category is a collection entitled, Marriage Bonds, 1779-1865 - Upper and Lower Canada.

Now I don't know exactly when this collection was added to LAC but the Marriage Bond page was last updated in February 2015. I don't remember if this collection was there at the time I discovered the Upper Canada Land Petitions in 2011/2012 or not. I did do a little search test and it appears these bonds are not over at Ancestry.com or at any of its variations. They also do not appear online at the FamilySearch.org website.

So what is a Marriage Bond? It's like an intention to marry or "official engagement." According to the LAC's record description for the collection, "The groom was required to enter into a bond with one or two people (sureties) who knew him and who were prepared to guarantee to the Crown that there was no legal impediment to the marriage. After obtaining the bond, a license was issued and the marriage took place a few days later."

In this case, these marriage bonds were prepared only for Protestant marriages by license.

So if you have ancestors in early Canada who were Protestant (or married Protestant) and you have not found them in the records of a church or pastor, you might want to search this collection.

On a bond you will find the names of the future husband and future wife and their place(s) of residence; the names of those acting as sureties; and the date and place where the bond was issue. (Often those acting as sureties were related to either the future husband or future wife.) Now remember marriage bonds were usually issued a few days prior to the actual ceremony, so the date on the bond is not the date of the actual marriage -- the marriage date was soon after the bond date.

These marriage bonds for Protestants are important because marriage licenses issued before 1867 were not retained by the government. This digitized collection is made up of bonds from two collections:

  • 7,899 marriage bonds for Upper Canada (Ontario) issued between 1803 and 1865 -- RG 5 B9 (MIKAN 125556)
  • 2,960 marriage bonds for Lower Canada (Quebec) issued between 1779 and 1858 -- RG 4 B28 (MIKAN 125694)


Here are some of my tips for the Marriage Bonds collection. Unlike other LAC digitized collections, these digital images are linked to your search results. Instead of searching a separate page with the digitized microfilm, here you simply click on the link to see the image desired.



Results Husband Search
Library and Archives Canada
Search Future Husband Surname
Library and Archives Canada








There are separate search filters for "future husband" and "future wife." So to do a complete, thorough surname search you have to search for your surname at least twice, once using "Future Husband's Surname" and once using "Future Wife's Surname." (Now if your surname has a lot of variations you will have to search those variations also. As far as wildcards, it looks like the multiple character (*) is supported at the end of a name. The single character (?) in the middle of a name did not work for me.)



Search Future Wife Surname
Library and Archives Canada
Results Wife Search
Library and Archives Canada









After getting your search results, to see an image simply click on the "item number" link for the result you want to investigate.


Item Page - Second Image
Library and Archives Canada
Item Page - First Image
Library and Archives Canada











At the Item page you will see there are two images (front and back) of the bond; some information abstracted from the bond; and details of the microfilm collection from which the bond was digitized.

Though you can scroll the image larger on this page, if you click on the image you can get a larger view. BUT to see the second image you need to go back to this initial Item page and click on the "2."


Enlarged Image
Library and Archives Canada
If you want to download the bond images, do so from the Item page where you will download via right-click a jpeg (jpg) of the image. If you try to download via right-click the image from the larger view, it only lets you download a png image. In this case, the jpg would likely work best.

In comparison to some other digital collections on LAC, these images of the Marriage Bonds appear to not be scanned as well. You simply can not enlarge the images, those online or downloaded, very much before the image goes "diggy."


Detail from Marriage Bond of Enoch F. Dunham
and Anne Chamberlain 15 June 1830 , Library and Archives Canada
RG 5 B9, vol. 19, number 4486 
I did not find any relatives in this particular collection which was a little disappointing. The Enoch F. Dunham that appears in these example images is from another Dunham line, Rev. Darius Dunham.

©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.