Originally compiled by Cathy Knight; updated by EssexOGS
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1. Essex County Branch - Ontario Genealogical Society
The Essex Branch OGS has an extensive genealogy and local history collection, accumulated over twenty years. It holds all the books of its own extensive publication list, and books and binders of information families with a local connection and family records of many members. Amongst the highlights are copies of the pages of the Botsford Collection (pedigrees of early families, especially of the Anderdon, Malden and Amherstburg area collected by William Botsford, while he was at Fort Malden; typed copies of many Obits from local newspapers dating back into the late 1800s and Obit clippings from the Windsor Star (1974 thru 1980); pedigree charts submitted by Essex Branch Members; pedigree charts submitted by participants in the Windsor Centennial Ancestor programme; a huge Queries collection; and a very large collection of histories of both the area and of local families. There is a card catalogue, indexing many of the documents by family surname. Besides information of specific local interest, the Branch also maintains an extensive collection of newsletters from other OGS branches, and of many Genealogy Societies in Canada and in the Unites States.
The Essex Branch Collection is located at the Windsor Public Library, Central Branch. The books are held on open shelf reserve on the second floor (NE corner), and are available during the Library's operating hours.
Members of Essex Branch OGS receive a quarterly newsletter, Trails. This journal focuses on genealogical issues specific to Essex County research, including a ‘Queries' section.
Membership in the Essex Branch OGS ‘piggy-backs' on membership in the Ontario Genealogical Association. For more information about joining the Ontario Genealogical Society, please visit http://www.ogs.on.ca
The Collection of the Essex County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (EssexOGS) - link to partial listing
2. Windsor Public Library - Central Branch
The Central Resource Library opened in 1973 with 101,467 square feet on 3 floors - 60,000 square feet of public areas. Space, in the lower level, is utilized by the Municipal Archives (see below). The Local History Collection is held on the Second Floor, as is the Genealogical Reference section. In addition to an extensive collection of local books, scrapbooks, and files, the Library maintains a large collection of records on microfilm and microfiche. Included amongst the newspapers are the Amherstburg Echo, from November 1874, The Windsor Star (and its precursors) from 1893, The Kingsville Reporter from mid-1893, The Leamington Post and News from 1907. It has the complete list of Kent County tombstone transcripts on fiche. It has all the Quebec and Ontario Censuses released to date, and it has Loiselle's Marriage Index on microfilm. All the City Directories for Windsor from the 1890s are available in hard copy, or on microfilm. The Library holds the Ontario Vital Records Index for Births/Marriages/Deaths released to date. In the Genealogical Reference Section, the Library maintains a set of Tanguay, and the ‘Red' Drouins, and many, many other provincial, national and international genealogical reference books.
Visit the website for branch hours and contact information: http://www.windsorpubliclibrary.com/
Visit the On-line collection cemetries, heritage, building pictures at http://heritage.windsorpubliclibrary.com/index.php
3. Windsor Municipal Archives
The Municipal Archives acquires, preserves and makes available for research historic records of the City of Windsor, its boards and commissions. These records date from 1854, the year Windsor was incorporated as a village, and include documentation on communities that became part of Windsor (Ford City/East Windsor, Ojibway, Riverside, Sandwich, Walkerville and the Townships of Sandwich East, West and South). The Archives has a multi-media collection including paper documents (journals, letters, diaries), posters, photographs, architectural drawings, maps, plans, audio tapes and ephemera. The Archives also holds a number of private collections such as the W. F. Herman Papers, Windsor Local Council of Women, and Papers of Green Shield Prepaid Services Incorporated. Everyone is welcome to research the Archives' holdings - Windsor's records are the people's records. There are guides and indexes to lead you through the collections and helpful staff waiting to assist with your questions. Some access restrictions may apply to certain records in order to protect privacy. Photocopying is available for most documents. Charges apply for reprographic services. Archival material cannot be loaned, but may be used in the Archives' Reading Room. To make the most of your visit, they ask that you come with paper and a pencil.
Please visit the website for hours and contact information: http://www.windsorpubliclibrary.com/branches/archives/hours.php
4. Windsor's Community Museum
Windsor's Community Museum is located in the Francois Baby House, an historic house built in 1812 by François Baby, a prominent French-Canadian. Windsor's Community Museum has a wide array of collections, which document the rich history of this community. Amongst them are:
· The Artifact Collection
Over 15,000 artifacts are carefully stored in the Museum's underground storage facility (under the patio next to the Museum). The oldest artifacts, archaeological material, date from as early as 3000 B.C. with the most recent being examples of local contemporary culture.
· Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Postcards & Photographs Collection
This collection depicts various scenes related to the history of Windsor & Essex County, such as archaeology, architecture, specific communities, industry, persons, transportation, etc.
· The Cartographic & Map Collection
This collection is a well-preserved series of maps dating from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. Many of the maps show patterns of land development, detailing such aspects as lot divisions, geographic features and proposed developments. The collection also includes Fire Insurance Plans, which detail site features and structure construction, dating from 1885.
· The Book Collection
The book collection is intended for reference use only. The collection encompasses a wide variety of subject matter including local history, biographies and museology. Dozens of the Museum's books pertaining to local history are quite rare: for example, they have the only extant copy of the Windsor City Directory for 1874.
· Archival Collection
The Museum has a large archival collection, which may be accessed either through microfilm or microfiche. It contains a wide variety of documentation and is quite comprehensive in its coverage of the history of Windsor, from the time of French settlement until the 1950s.
· Please contact the Museum for a detailed list of holdings
They are located at the François Baby House, 254 Pitt Street West, Windsor, Ontario N9A 5L5
The Museum offers service to the public year round.
iPlease visit the website for hours and contact information: http://www.citywindsor.ca/002821.asp
5. University of Windsor - Leddy Library
The University of Windsor has a large book collection, with their local history books mainly stored under Call Numbers FC---. In addition, the Library has a large collection of microfilms of considerable potential interest to genealogists. Included are:
· the entire Canadian Census for 1871 and 1881
· the Ontario Census for 1861
· all local (Essex and Kent Counties) Census records released for 1851, 1891, 1901
· an assortment of early (pre-1860) Censuses for Nova Scotia and Manitoba
Newspapers on microfilm, from all over the world. Of particular local interest
· Leamington Post and News 1907 - 1995
· assorted Chatham papers 1853 - 1873
· Le Courriere 1884-86; 1908 -09
· Essex Free Press 1895 - 1968
· Essex Record 1871 - 1877
· Amherstburg Echo 1874 - 1981
· Amherstburg Courier 1849 - 1850
· Western District Advertiser 1841 - 1848, 1849 - 1850
· Assorted newspapers of Western Ontario and the Michigan frontier 1817 - 1854 (5 films) These are mostly the precursors of The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press.
· Western Herald Jan 1833 - Oct 6 1842
· Walkerville News 1934 - 36
· Walkerville Mercury April 1890 - April 1891
· Voice of the Fugitive 1851 - 1852
· Western Chronicle (Centerville, St. Joseph's Co., MI) Jan 1, 1857 - Mar 16, 1864
The circulating books in the local history collection are on the second floor, the reserve collection of local history books (including Windsor City Directories) are on the main floor, and the microfilms are in the lower level. There are microfilm and microfiche reader printers.
The Leddy Library is on the main campus of the University of Windsor, 401 Sunset, Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4.
For hours and contact information, please visit the website at: http://web4.uwindsor.ca/leddy
6. University of Windsor (and others) Archives
Free Related Online Historical Resources Updated: Katharine Ball, Leddy Library, U. of Windsor, January 2012
Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive Updated: Katharine Ball, Leddy Library, U. of Windsor,
The hardcopy Archives hold several collections, two of which may be of interest to genealogists. One is the collection contains the registers of baptism, marriage, confirmation and burial from St John's Anglican Church, Sandwich, Ontario, Canada.
· Register of Marriages, 1802-1913
· Register of Baptisms , 1802-1915
· Register of Confirmations, 1842-1845
· Register of Burials, 1802-1913
Written permission to use the records of St. John's Anglican Church must be obtained from the Secretary of the church:
3305 Sandwich Street , Windsor, Ontario Canada N9C 1B2
Telephone Number (519) 253-4824
The Archives also holds the Province of Ontario, Land Registry Books for the Counties of Essex, Kent, and Lambton. These registers are on long term deposit/loan from the Public Archives of Ontario. Essex County has 1,135 volumes from approximately 1847-1955. Kent County has 709 volumes dating from approximately 1818 to 1956. Lambton County has 745 volumes dating from about 1843-1954. Each county's collection contains the following three series:
· Area Series, which provides details on land transfers;
· General Series, which provides details on wills and power of attorney relating to land;
· Miscellaneous Series which gives information about bankruptcies, deposits, and judgements.
A card index has been created which provides access by municipality, date, and type of series.
Please visit the website for hours and contact information at: http://web4.uwindsor.ca/units/archive/main.nsf
7. Land Record Office Of Essex County
This office contains the land records (eg lists previous owners of property; need to know the Plan Number to get started, or call 311 for the information before you go) of Windsor/Essex County and a microfilm collection of probated Wills, as well as Wills/Letters of Administration from the General Register dating back to 1795 - look for the books of Wills for the microfilm number (50 cents per page to obtain a microfilm photcopy; no cameras allowed). The actual Wills were removed and are in the possession of APOLROD. The Windsor archives would contain older documents ( try http://web4.uwindsor.ca/units/archive/main.nsf or http://www.windsorpubliclibrary.com/branches/archives/hours.php )
The Land Records: 949 McDougall St, Ste100; Windsor, ON N9A 1L9; 519-971-9980 1-800-267-8097
8. Italian-Canadian Genealogy Society
The Society holds informational and instructional meetings at The Caboto Club, 2175 Parent Ave. (corner of Parent and Tecumseh Rd. East), Windsor, ON, N8X 4K2, The most recent meeting was March 8, 2000, after 7:00 p.m.. Call The Caboto Club to confirm the time and date of the next meeting (519-252-8383). They do not maintain a library per se, but are very pro-active in attempting to guide people in doing research on families originating in Italy.
9. Societe franco-ontarienne d'histoire et de genelogie
This is far and away the best and most important Essex County repository of French Canadian records.
Amongst their holdings of over 5000 books are:
· The Blue Drouins - an alphabetized transcript of all Catholic marriages in Quebec (with a few entries from Michigan and Ontario) from 1760 to 1935. There are separate volumes, arranged by gender. This extensive collection is no longer available for purchase
· a massive collection of Marriage Register transcripts from Quebec, Ontario and New England.
· transcriptions of otherwise unpublished local Roman Catholic churches in Essex County, like St. Clement's, McGregor.
· a complete photocopy (not a transcript) of the registers of: SS Simon and Jude (Belle River), St-Pierre-on-the-Thames (Tilbury East), and Immaculée-Conception, Paincourt (Kent Co.)
· Over 400 local French Canadian genealogies
In addition to books, the facility has:
· Online access to Ancestry.ca, which allows for full access the entire, unindexed, Drouin Canadian collection (all parish registers, regardless of denomination, in Quebec, and selected French Catholic Church registers in Ontario, including many Essex County registers to circa 1940.
· A card index of Essex County Obits and 90+ birthdays of local residents, from circa 1980
There is a photocopier on site. The Blue Drouins may NOT be photocopied, but must be transcribed.
You may visit once a year for free, but the Societe asks that, if you visit more frequently than once a year, you join the organization. The annual fees are $25.00. For additional $10.00, you may purchase an annual subscription to the Societe's glossy magazine Le Chainon, published quarterly, (in French). If you, like me, are not French-speaking, this is a wonderful opportunity to expand on your understanding of the French language.
Please visit the website for hours and contact information: http://www.francogenealogie.com
The website may be viewed in French or in English. This site will direct you to the Online Store, where all the Ontario publications of the Societe, including those from outside Essex and Kent Counties, can be purchased.
10. Family History Centre
Family History Centres (FHC) are essentially branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and are located in the Church of Latter Day Saints throughout the world. Each Centre has some records in common on microfiche and/or CD:
The Ancestral File
The International Genealogical Index
Scottish Church Records
Social Security Death Index
In addition, each Centre ‘specializes' in items they feel are of particular interest to patrons likely to go into that individual site. The Windsor FHC has a collection of British records built up over almost two decades. It includes an almost complete set in Birth/Marriage/Death Indexes for England to around 1910, and for Scotland to 1875. There are extensive Parish Registers and Census Records for England and Scotland on microfilm. There are a large number of Quebec Parish Registers on microfilm, and Loiselle's Marriage Index, with a partial addendum. The Windsor FHC has a growing collection of local records, including all Essex County national Censuses released (to date); The Botsford Files ( pedigree charts amassed by a former Directoe of the Fort Malden [see below] Historicl Site); The Commemorative Biographical Records for Essex, Kent and Lambton Counties; the Index to and transcripts of the probated Wills of the Western District and (later) Essex County : Surrogate Court Records (1795 - 1903); and the Ontario Vital Records Index for Births/Marriages/Deaths released to date.
Please note, the actual microfilms of the Ontario Vital Records are held in the Chatham FHC, 19 Brian St., Chatham.
The Windsor FHC is open Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., and 6:30 - 9:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and is located in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 3550 Forest Glade Drive (corner of Forest Glade Drive and Lauzon Road), Windsor, Ontario N8R 1X9. Phone - 519-735-4433.
11. Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society - H.E.I.R.S
H.E.I.R.S. is an organization specializing in local and family history of the Harrow-Colchester area. They have an extensive library, and have a photocopier and a microfilm reader-printer.
Holdings of H.E.I.R.S
· Genealogical Materials, published and unpublished, clippings, birth-marriages-deaths. Census records. Thousands of local surnames and related families are being indexed. Cemetery index for the area.
· Historical Materials, published and unpublished; personal collections and files of clippings. Microfilm of The Amherstburg Echo, The Harrow News, and The Kingsville Reporter (to 1949), microfilm of Municipal, Church, Local, and Family information.
· Regional Historical and Genealogical information relating to the Detroit River area, Ontario counties of Essex, Kent, and Lambton, and the State of Michigan, USA
H.E.I.R.S has published Harrow and Colchester South, 1792 - 1992, which is a 200-page hardcover history, published in 1993. It is fully indexed and illustrated. Topics include: settlement, pioneers, wars, municipal government, transportation, agriculture, industry, commerce, communications, ethnic groups, schools, churches, societies, culture, and recreation. Cost: $35.00 (Canadian), plus postage and insurance, if mailed. H.E.I.R.S. has also created the only all-name Index to the Commemorative Biographical Record for the County of Essex, and has transcribed the tombstones for the 17 cemeteries in Harrow-Colchester (listed below in The Marsh Collection). Although these Cemeteries and the Index have not yet been published, H.E.I.R.S has made copies available to other local genealogical associations, and they can be accessed at the H.E.I.R.S Library.
H.E.I.R.S. is located at 243 McAfee St., Harrow, Ontario. For hours and contact information, please visit the website at: http://www.heirs.ca
12. Marsh Collection Society
The Marsh Collection holds a variety of information and resources for Essex County including census records (microfilm), town and township records (microfilm), directories, voters' lists, local newspapers (microfilm), church records. It also has several publications, including the two volume set Amberstburg 1796 - 1996, and With The Tide.
Marsh Collection Society is located at 235A Dalhousie Street, Amherstburg, Ontario. Please contact the Marsh Collection at (519) 736-9191 for hours.
13. Bicentennial Branch - United Empire Loyalists
Over two hundred years ago, the American Revolution shattered the British Empire in North America. The conflict was rooted in British attempts to assert economic control in her American colonies, after her costly victory over the French during the Seven Years War.
The United Empire Loyalists were those colonists who remained faithful to the Crown and wished to continue living under the Crown in the New World.
Therefore, they left their homes to settle eventually in what remained of British North America.
The Bicentennial Branch of this national organization has no permanent library, but does meet four times per year. For more information, visit the website at: http://www.uelbicentennial.org/
14. Essex County Library
The Essex County Library maintains a digital archive and image network in a collection of indexes relating to historical and current events in the County of Essex. The archives include the indexing of various census returns, local newspapers and a picture index of many local sites and artifacts.
IFor more information and hours, please visit the website at: Essex County Library - About
15. Fort Malden National Historic Site
The Resource Centre's library and archival collections focus on the history of Fort Malden, the War of 1812, the Upper Canada Rebellion, the British Indian Department, British military history to 1860 and Essex County history. Collection formats include books, periodicals, vertical files, audio/visual, photographs, slides, maps, plans, microfiche/film and archival documents. The Resource Centre is located at the Interpretive Centre.
The Resource Centre is open to the public by appointment only and materials are available for use in the library. Books may be borrowed through inter-library loan. Staff are available to assist with the retrieval of information. They can guide in the use of the library/archives, recommend sources and make referrals when necessary. Resource Centre services are subject to fees.
For contact information, hours and address, visit the website at: Fort Malden National Historic Site
16. North American Black Historical Museum
A collection of material promoting Black heritage with a focus on the Underground Railroad Movement and Black Canadian settlement.
For visitor information, hours and how to contact the museum, visit the website at: http://www.blackhistoricalmuseum.org/
17. Leamington and Mersea Historical Society
This group has it's collection housed in the old Albuna United Church, on Concession 9, Mersea Township, directly across the street from the Albuna Cemetery. They have a collection of books and documents of local historical interest, and are in the process of producing their own publications. They can be reached at phone 519-326-7252 (voice mail). More information about the society, including hours and address, can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/swo_heritage/leamingt.htm
18. Essex and Community Historical Research Society - ECHRS
ECHRS is dedicated to preserving the histories of the communities in Essex County. They are located in the town of Essex. For directions, hours and contact information visit their website at: http://www.echrs.ca/
New War of 1812 page: http://www.echrs.org/war1812.html
19. Kent Branch OGS
The holdings of our sister Branch Library include a number of family histories [ranging from a single page to large volumes] -- and they welcome donation of other family histories. They have exchange newsletters from the other branches of the O.G.S. and exchange of newsletters with some other places. In the collection there are considerable materials relating to Kent County and the various townships thereof. Also there are materials on several counties/districts of Ontario, and of several of the Provinces of CanadaThey have items from some of the States of the U.S.A. and from other countries [including considerable general materials relating to Scotland, England, and Ireland]. Also, in the holdings, the Library tries to maintain copies of Kent Branch's publications. The Library has a set of the indexes to Ontario Births, Marriages, and Deaths as originally released to the public through Ontario Archives on microfilms. In addition, the Chatham Public Library has an extensive genealogical collection, including all local newspapers (with a complete surname index).
Kent Branch OGS is located on the second floor of the Chatham- Kent Public Library, 120 Queen St., Chatham. It is open 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday except Holidays.
For more information visit the website at: http://ogs.on.ca/kent/index.htm
20. Detroit Society For Genealogical Research
The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research (DSGR) was established in 1936 to bring together persons interested in genealogy and to serve as a center for genealogical activities. The DSGR is a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding people in doing genealogical research. A genealogical workshop and a conference are held annually. Genealogical publications, Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region, 1701-1936, Denissen Revision, forms, family charts, back copies of the DSGR Magazine, and magazine indexes are available to anyone. I understand they are in the process of preparing the St. Anne's, Detroit Parish Register's for publication in time for the Detroit Tercentenary. The DSGR does not perform extensive research for members but will furnish names of genealogical researchers upon request. Monthly DSGR meetings include talks on genealogical topics given by authorities and by panel discussions.
For more information visit the website at: http://www.dsgr.org/
21. French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
The French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan (FCHSM) was founded in 1980 as an educational, historical, cultural, and genealogical non-profit organization. It seeks to make people aware of the rich culture and history of French Canadians in North America, with special emphasis on those who explored and settled in Michigan.
The FCHSM publishes transcriptions of original records, family histories, bibliographic, and methodological articles. The FCHSM's genealogical and historical collection of books, journals, and file folders are housed at the Mount Clemens Public Library. Please contact the library and verify their hours of operation before making a visit. In general, the library does not have the staff to answer your written research questions.
Visit the website for more information at: http://fchsm.habitant.org/index.html
22. Burton Historical Collection - Detroit Public Library
Widely known and used by scholars and genealogists, the Burton Historical Collection is a large repository of historical and genealogical materials. The original collection was donated to the Detroit Public Library, in 1914, by Clarence Monroe Burton, a Detroit attorney. Mr. Burton worked for several firms before forming his own company, the Burton Abstract and Title Co., in 1891. He was active in civic affairs and wrote and edited many books and pamphlets concerning Detroit. Books and manuscript materials focus on the history of Detroit and Michigan from the 17th century to the present, encompassing the Great Lakes area, New England and New France. Other materials include a large map collection, pamphlets, newspapers, business records, newspaper clippings, broadsides and scrapbooks. Archives include papers of individuals, groups, businesses, churches and the records of the city of Detroit.
The genealogical collection, one of the finest in the country, includes: books; charts of individual families, federal census population schedules, records of births; marriages, baptisms and cemetery inscriptions; wills and probate records; church membership lists; military records; registers of deeds; newspaper obituaries; biographical encyclopedias; and county and town histories. The genealogical collection is not limited to the United States; it also includes a large collection of Canadian materials and early French records.
The Burton Historical Collection also houses the Edgar DeWitt Jones Lincoln Collection, featuring books and manuscripts on Abraham Lincoln, the Ernie Harwell Collection, featuring books, pamphlets, photographs and newspaper clippings on sports, and the Rare Book Collection. This Collection contains books in all fields of knowledge, many of them landmark works of western
Published items available through the Burton Historical Collection include: French Families of the Detroit River Region, 2nd edition; Diary of Normnd McCleod, written in the 18th century; map of Detroit in 1760; Detroit in 1794, a reproduction of the earliest known watercolor painting of Detroit; Guide to Manuscripts in the Burton Historical Collection; and Genealogical Guide to the Burton Historical Collection.
Visit the website for hours and contact information at: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/burton/burton_index.htm
23. Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society
Dedicated to the research and preservation of African-American history.
Visit the website for more information about the society at:
24. Essex County GenWeb Page
This is the local site for Rootsweb providing links to websites and information about Essex County. Visit the website at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~onessex/index.htm
Our Ontario - community newspapers http://www.ourontario.ca/demo/News.html
Ontario Genealogical Society http://www.ogs.on.ca
Additional OGS Region 1 Branches:
Kent County Branch http://ogs.on.ca/kent/index.htm
Lambton County Branch http://www.lambton.ogs.on.ca/
Mark Warren has printed a new book, covering Anderdon Township in Essex County, Ontario. It is available in Amherstburg bookstores (Gordon House). Now available at the University of Windsor Bookstore http://bookstore.uwindsor.ca/
Google NEWS (Historical Newspapers) - scans of historical newspapers (Windsor Herald 1855): http://news.google.com/newspapers
Ontario (Upper Canada) Land Petition Grants (ie early settlers - 2 stage process to view microform):
1st (Name Search for microform #): http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/upper-canada-land/001097-100.01-e.php?PHPSESSID=2v6hd41qod64uklqpa6ee0usd3
2nd (microform search - getting the correct page hit and miss): http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.01-e.php
3rd - note the other microforms that can be searched - i.e. war of 1812 Claims Loss