Preparing for a Day of Research at the Archives of Ontario

Preparing for a Day of Research at the Archives of Ontario

On Thursday, April 5, I had the distinct pleasure of being part of Genealogy Day at the Archives of Ontario which was co-hosted by The Ontario Genealogical Society and the Archives. I was part of a panel presentation during which each presenter was asked to personalize research at the Archives of Ontario by describing research that we had done on site. I talked about what I describe as the “under belly” records- land records and assessment records.

Land and Assessment Records
When you are searching a “shattered” family like I am, mother dead, youngest child farmed out to the grandparents and older children working in other homes as domestics, the census records do not help much. Instead I checked land records to see when my William Bolton had acquired property and disposed of it. Then I searched the assessment records for each of the properties that he had leased or for which he had put a down payment in place.

Archives of Ontario Website
I find the Archives of Ontario website a good place to prepare for an onsite visit or to prepare to access records in the Lambton County Archives that is close to me. I was able to order in microfilm reels of the Township Papers with a turnaround of about a week. For more information about the Township Papers see my previous blog, Township Papers-A Source Often Unknown or Forgotten.

The Historic Newspaper Collection
The Archives of Ontario has many online finding aids. For this trip to the AO I wanted to access the historic newspapers collection which is on microfilm. You can find a list of them, and more importantly, what years of publication they have in the collection. Note that not all runs are complete and you will find some issues that are in rough condition. Go to the Research Guides and Tools page and cursor down to the bottom of it to find the Newspapers heading. Here you will find two items listed:
Research Guide 212 – Newspaper Holdings of the Archives of Ontario
This guide gives a good overview that is worth reading.
Finding Aid L23 Original and Microfilm Collections in the Archives of Ontario
Appendix 5 of this Finding Aid was the place I went for information because it lists the newspapers and tells what the microfilm designation is for a particular newspaper run.
In my case I was interested in The Bolton Enterprise which was designated N 194. With that designation in hand I could easily find the filing cabinet which held all the microfilm reels for the Enterprise.

I won and lost in my search of the Bolton Enterprise. I was searching for death notices/obituaries for Robert Godbolt and his sisters Elizabeth and Emma. All unmarried, they stayed on the family farm. I found an obituary for Robert which mentioned his sisters.1 It will give me good quotes to put in my Bolton Family History. Unfortunately I did not find anything for his sisters. What I was hoping to find was some mention of two other possible siblings who are mentioned in two accounts about the family. That hope was not satisfied either.

In this genealogical search game you can win and lose. The key is to keep researching and to look for alternate records.

1. The Bolton Enterprise, Friday, 22 May 1903, p. 1.

Do you want to mingle and learn with other passionate genealogists? Plan to attend the 2018 Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph from June 1-3. Register here.

Alan Campbell
Past President
The Ontario Genealogical Society
© 2018


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