In a recent post in the Ontario Ancestors group on Facebook a person asked:
"Living in the UK I am not familiar with Canadian addresses. The one below I have been told refers to Rural Route 2, it is meant to be farm, but I am not sure it had a name. I found in correspondence from the 1940s and I am keen to find a more exact location if possible, as Google Maps isn't terribly helpful."
I thought I would do a little case study of how to possibly find the location of the property. Be forewarned, there are assumptions being made since this is all the information I had at the time.
The first step I took was to look in the "Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980" collection found on Ancestry since that collection does cover more recent, from a genealogy point of view, events.
|Screen capture of the results from searching the "Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980" on Ancestry with first name Margaret, last name Cowie, keyword Kemptville.|
Knowing that Kemptville is the Leeds and Grenville United Counties the first entry from 1949 looks really promising.
Looking at the line for Mrs. Margaret Cowie, the address appears to match exactly what was originally posted in the query. Of course, this is an assumption that it is the correct person since we don't have any other details but let's go with this. Just above her is listed "Cowie, Alexander, gentleman, RR2 Kemptville". Odds are, but not completely certain, Alexander is her husband.
Assuming that is the correct household, where are they?
For that we need to look at the top of that same page:
We see that the voters list is from the Township of South Gower and is "Comprising the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Concessions of South Gower, and not including the the 2nd and 3rd Concessions of South Gower which were formerly part of North Gower".
With the details we have gathered: name, township, and date, we have enough basic information for the next step, visiting the Ontario Land Registry Access site AKA OnLand.
So what can we find in the Abstract/Parcel Register Books within the Historical Books section for the Grenville Land Registry Office (LRO)? After filtering by South Gower in the Township/Municipality box I selected the book for "Concessions 1, 2 , 3". Then it just became an exercise of looking through the pages.
|Screen capture from Onland.ca of the Abstract/Parcel Register Book in the Historical Books section of the Grenville Land Registry office filtered on South Gower.|
There are 253 pages but that is easy (compared to some of the other books) since I don't need to read all the pages but only the lines around the 1940s.
On image 33 of that book I came across a transaction for "Deed Under Power of Sale" on 8 Jan 1941 from "The Commissioner of Agricultural Loans" to "Alexander Cowie and Margaret Cowie, Joint Tenants" for the Front half, 100 acres on Concession 1 Lot 6. The names and time period appear to be right. That just might be the property that is being sought.
So where is Concession 1, Lot 6 in South Gower? For that I went to the digitized map from The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project for South Gower. These maps were created between the 1860s and 1880s.
|Map of South Gower, Grenville County, Ontario from the The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project.|
On that map we are fortunate to actually have a name listed on the property. Checking the Map of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville created under the direction of H. F. Walling in 1861, which just so happens to match the map from The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project, it would seem that the tract of land was occupied by a Mrs. Tripp around 1861. That matches up with the transactions found on the previous page in the Abstract/Parcel Register Book where I found an entry for an Alexander and Margaret Cowie.
What about putting that property on a map that includes current details. For that I popped over to Topographic maps on the Ontario Government site. Once I accepted the "Ontario Parcel License Agreement" disclaimer I then selected from the Navigation bar the option to Search. One of the options is to search by Lot/Concession/Township. So I selected from the various drop down boxes the township of South Gower, Concession 1, Lot 6 and it brought me to the property on the map.
Using the information from that map and a little bit of playing around in Google Maps here is where the property is on a map of today:
|Concession 1, Lot 6 in the township of South Gower highlighted in a screen capture from Google Maps.|
Is it 100% percent certain this is where the Margaret Cowie in the address we are looking for resided?
Not a chance
I've had to make several assumptions. However, unless other information is forthcoming it is a good starting point. This short case study also shows how you can use various online resources to possibly locate a person just from a Rural Route address in Ontario.