Saturday, March 20, 2021

Finding on the Ground - A Rural Route Address in Ontario

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.
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.

Canada, Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980, 1949 Voters List for the Electoral District of Grenville-Dundas. Rural Polling Divition No. 46-1, Township of South Gower: 1 [3140 stamped], Mrs. Margaret Cowie; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Mar 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm M-4836.
Canada, Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980, 1949 Voters List for the Electoral District of Grenville-Dundas. Rural Polling Divition No. 46-1, Township of South Gower: 1 [3140 stamped], Mrs. Margaret Cowie; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Mar 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm M-4836.

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:

Canada, Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980, 1949 Voters List for the Electoral District of Grenville-Dundas. Rural Polling Divition No. 46-1, Township of South Gower: 1 [3140 stamped], heading; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Mar 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm M-4836.
Canada, Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980, 1949 Voters List for the Electoral District of Grenville-Dundas. Rural Polling Divition No. 46-1, Township of South Gower: 1 [3140 stamped], heading; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Mar 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm M-4836.

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.
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.

Grenville (LRO 15), OntarioSouth Gower Concession 1, 2, 3: 33, G-3018, Deed Under Power of Sale to Alexander Cowie and Margaret Cowie, Jt. Tenants, 8 Jan 1941; digital images, Teranet Property & Registration Services, OnLand: Ontario Land Registry Access (https://www.onland.ca/ : accessed 20 Mar 2021).
Grenville (LRO 15), Ontario South Gower Concession 1, 2, 3: 33, G-3018, Deed Under Power of Sale to Alexander Cowie and Margaret Cowie, Jt. Tenants, 8 Jan 1941; digital images, Teranet Property & Registration Services, OnLand: Ontario Land Registry Access (https://www.onland.ca/ : accessed 20 Mar 2021).

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.
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.
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.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Finding the Concession and Lot in Ontario in the 1901 Census

In several of my previous posts we've looked at the various censuses taken in Ontario, or what would later become Ontario, to figure out where our rural ancestors resided:

Unfortunately for us, only the "Nominal return of the living" or "Population" schedules for the 1881 and 1891 Censuses of Canada have been preserved. So we are out of luck with using them. However, we are in luck with the 1901 Census of Canada since both the Populations schedule, which we so often use, and the "Buildings and lands, churches and schools" schedule has been "entirely" preserved.

So off we go into delving into the 1901 Census of Canada looking for the concession and lot of one of my relatives who lived in rural Ontario. We will be using my 3rd great-grandfather, Luke McMullen, born about 1819 in Ireland as our subject. In earlier census enumerations he could be found in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada.

Much like the 1871 census of Canada where we first have to find them in the population schedule, we need to do the same for the 1901 census.

We are going to start on the Library and Archives Canada site's Census of Canada, 1901 page.

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of Canada, 1901 page.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of Canada, 1901 page.

While we are here, take some time to look around the page. There are links to details concerning the instructions to enumerators, other places on the Internet where indexes to this census can be found (including but not limited to Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage, and Automated Genealogy), and which sub-districts may not have survived. One thing to note is that what has survived was initially microfilmed in the mid 1950s and the original paper records were destroyed.

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of Canada, 1901 search page searching for Luke McMullen in Ontario.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of Canada, 1901 search page searching for Luke McMullen in Ontario.

Above is the search page from Library and Archives Canada for the 1901 Census of Canada with the details for Luke McMullen filled in. Keep in mind, that unlike the search system found on Ancestry or FamilySearch, the Library and Archives Canada search system doesn't make use of "sound like" or approximations in their search. If you can't initially find the person in the census, play around with the spelling of the name and also use the "*" wildcard in the search, possibly like "mcmul*" for "McMullen" and variants.

1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district f-2, p. 2, dwelling 17, family 17, household of Louis Darou; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021); citing microfilm T-6478.
1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district f-2, p. 2, dwelling 17, family 17, household of Louis Darou; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021); citing microfilm T-6478.

Only one result was returned and we can see a clipping from the image of the census page above. There we see on line 47 Luke McMullen is found in dwelling 17, household 17, that of Louis Darou, recorded as the father-in-law. Lydia A, the wife of Louis, was one of Luke's daughters.

1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district f-2, p. 2, top of page; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021); citing microfilm T-6478.
1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district f-2, p. 2, top of page; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021); citing microfilm T-6478.

The following details are needed to find the household entry in Schedule 2, "Buildings and lands, churches and schools":

  • District: 81 (South Lanark)
  • Sub-district: F
  • Division: 2
  • Page: 2
  • Line: 42

Why line 42 and not line 47 where Luke is listed? Schedule 2 points to the head of the household within the Population schedule. So we need to record the line number for Louis Darou.

Now we need to go to the Schedule section of the Census of Canada, 1901 page on the Library and Archives Canada site. There we will find more information about Schedule 2 including links to a number of PDFs that will aid us in finding the digitized images of Schedule 2.

For this example we need to open up the PDF for Ontario. Within we find the links to the images of Schedule 2. The order in the PDF is by district, sub-district, division, and then page number.

We can have the computer search for the name of the sub-district, if known, but often scrolling through the index, even one of 381 pages like that for Ontario, is just as quick. Here we find the various entries for Lanark South (81), Elmsley North (F) at the bottom of the page. There are two divisions for that sub-district so we want to pick the correct one. In our case it is division 2. 

A gotcha then appears...the page numbers don't refer to the page numbers from Schedule 1, Population, but to the page numbers for Schedule 2. So for Elmsley North, Division 2 there are 2 pages we might need to look at. Other sub-districts may have many more pages in Schedule 2 like we see for the town of Carleton Place.

We are going to click on the image link for page 1 of Schedule 2 for Lanark South, Elmsley North, Division 2 to see if we can find the entry for Louis Darou.

1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district f-2, schedule 2, p. 1, lines 16-22; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021).
1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district f-2, schedule 2, p. 1, lines 16-22; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021).

Scanning down the first two columns of that page we can quickly find an entry for page 2, line 42 from the Population schedule on line 18. There the place of habitation is recorded as:

b. con. 10 pt. lot 27

So it would appear that Louis Darou and, also by being in the same household, Luke McMullen reside on part of lot 27 on the 10th Concession of the Township North Elmley in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada. We can now use OnLand or the land records on FamilySearch to find out more about the history of the ownership of that property. Maybe we can look up that location on a map and have a road trip.

But what is that "b"?

At the top of the page in the column headings it describes the code to use for the place of habitation:

  • a. Name of Municipality, Township, or Parish.
  • b. Range or concession and lot, or cadastral number.
  • c. Street and house number.
  • d. Or other description.

The enumerator is informing us that this is a "Range or concession and lot, or cadastral number."

How about a location within a town?

1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district 2-2, schedule 2, p. 3, lines 1-12; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021).
1901 census of Canada, Ontario, district 81, sub-district 2-2, schedule 2, p. 3, lines 1-12; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 20 Feb 2021).

Here we can see the clipping for Carleton Place. In this case the street name is given but not the house number.

The same information can generally be found on Ancestry in the 1901 Census of Canada pages. However, due to the way the images were originally microfilmed, the Schedule 2 images are often found before the Population schedule pages for the sub-district and division. Instead of flipping forward to the Schedule 2 images you actually need to go backwards through the images and keep going past the start of the Population schedule for that location. Then, hopefully, you will find the schedule for "Buildings and lands, churches and schools" for the place of interest. Make sure you pay attention to the top of the pages to make sure you are looking at the right place.

Regrettably, much like the 1881 and 1891 Censuses of Canada, only the Population schedule for the 1911 and 1921 censuses was preserved.

I sincerely hope that this series of posts about using the agricultural or other schedules has helped you find your ancestors on the ground in Ontario/Canada West.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Ontario Concession and Lot in the 1871 Census of Canada

Unlike the 1851 (searching the Ancestry or Library and Archives Canada version) and 1861 (searching the Library and Archives Canada version) censuses of Canada West where the Agricultural schedule is recorded by name, the 1871 census of Canada records the details about the land by page and line number. So let's dive into that census to see what we can find.

Before we begin, make sure that you drop by the Library and Archives Canada page on the "Census of Canada, 1871". There we learn that the census officially began on 2 Apr 1871. What makes this census fairly unique is that almost all 9 schedules actually survived to be microfilmed in 1975:

  • Schedule 1, Nominal return of the living
  • Schedule 2, Nominal return of the deaths
  • Schedule 3, Return of public institutions, real and personal estate
  • Schedule 4, Return of cultivated land and products
  • Schedule 5, Livestock, animal products, home-made fabrics and furs
  • Schedule 6, Return of industrial establishments
  • Schedule 7, Return of products of the forest
  • Schedule 8, Return of shipping and fisheries
  • Schedule 9, Return of mineral products

We are probably all familiar with schedule 1, "Nominal return of the living", since that is where we find all the names, ages, county or province of birth, religion, and other personal details we like to have in our records. It becomes critical to find the household in schedule 1 since all other schedules don't use the name of the head of household as the reference but instead the page and line number where the head of household is found.

If you are interested in learning more about this census, the Manual containing "The Census Act," and the instructions to officers employed in the taking of the first census of Canada, (1871) can be found on the Internet Archive.

If someone in the family may have died in the past year then make sure you take a look at schedule 2, "Nominal return of the deaths", to see if they are listed. But for this post we will be looking at schedule 4, "Return of cultivated land and products", to see if we can find the concession and lot number.

For these examples we will be using Luke McMullen, my 3rd great-grandfather, who arrived around 1840 in Lanark County, Upper Canada and settled in North Elmsley township. 

We will be using Ancestry to help me out in this task. Why Ancestry? Unlike the search system on the Library and Archives Canada site, Ancestry's search system often takes in account the various spelling challenges we have with the names of our ancestors. Also, their navigation buttons and virtual filmstrip makes it easy to move through the images of the census...no messing around with changing URLs in your browser.

First of all, start off by going to the 1871 Census of Canada search page on Ancestry. The easiest way is to search the Ancestry Card Catalogue for the keywords "1871 census of Canada" (without the quotes).

Screen capture of searching the Ancestry.ca card Catalogue for the "1871 census of canada".
Screen capture of searching the Ancestry.ca card Catalogue for the "1871 census of canada".

Select the 1871 Census of Canada from the list of results to bring up the search page.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca 1871 Census of Canada search page.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca 1871 Census of Canada search page.

When we search for Luke McMullen who lived in Lanark, Ontario, Canada we get a number of potential results since we didn't do an exact match for any of the search fields. Fortunately the first entry in the list of results is him.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca searching for Luke McMullen residing in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1871 Census of Canada.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca searching for Luke McMullen residing in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1871 Census of Canada.

When we go to the record and finally open up the image of the census page we need to record a few details in order to find any associated land details in schedule 4, Return of cultivated land and products.

1871 census of Canada, Ontario, district 79, sub-district C, Schedule No. 1, p. 45, dwelling 151, family 151, Luke McMullen; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 Apr 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-10017.
1871 census of Canada, Ontario, district 79, sub-district C, Schedule No. 1, p. 45, dwelling 151, family 151, Luke McMullen; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 Apr 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-10017.

We need to write down the District, Sub District, page, and the line number where we find the head of household listed. So for Luke McMullen, recorded as "Luke McMullin", we have:

  • District: 79 South Lanark
  • Sub-District: C Elmsley North
  • Page: 45
  • Line: 1

All these details will help us make sure we are looking at the right page in schedule 4.

We are next going to use the navigation buttons on the image viewing page from Ancestry. 

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca for the image of the 1871 Census of Canada for Luke McMullen in North Elmsley Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada with arrow highlighting a navigation button.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca for the image of the 1871 Census of Canada for Luke McMullen in North Elmsley Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada with arrow highlighting a navigation button.

Highlighted in the image above with the bright red arrow pointing to it is one of the navigation buttons that help you move through the images. We can also type in the image number in the box found near the bottom of the page or use the arrows at the bottom of the page to quickly move through the images in the filmstrip. We want to move through these images until we come to Schedule No. 4. As tempting as it is, don't stop at Schedule No. 2 to check for deaths but continue on past Schedule No. 3 until we get to Schedule No. 4.

1871 census of Canada, Ontario, district 79, sub-district C, Schedule No. 4, p 1; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-10017.

Once we get to the first page of "Schedule No. 4.---Return of Cultivated Land, of Field Products and of Plants and Fruits" check to make sure we are still in the right district and sub-district.

We can see that we are still in District 49, Sub-District C Elmsley North. Notice that on the first line of the schedule there is no name. Instead the first two entries on a line are the page and line numbers. The next two entries on the line have the range/concession and number of the lot. So let's continue through the images until will get to the image with page number 45, line 1, the information we got from looking at Schedule 1.

1871 census of Canada, Ontario, district 79, sub-district C, Schedule No. 4, p 8, extract; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-10017.
1871 census of Canada, Ontario, district 79, sub-district C, Schedule No. 4, p 8, extract; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-10017.

Once we get to page 8 we can see the line for page 45, line 1 giving the location as concession 7, lot 27 in North Elmsley where Luke McMullen owns 175 acres of land with 130 acres improved and 20 acres in pasture.

One important note concerning the use of concessions and lots. Not all townships and counties in Ontario used that system. A great example is Thorold Township in Welland County. In the 1871 Census of Canada you will find the "Range or Concession" with a "-" or left blank but a lot number is provided. This is where "The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project" can help you find the lot in a map once you have them on the ground in the 1871 Census of Canada in Ontario.


Friday, February 19, 2021

Searching the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural Schedule - LAC Version

In my post "Searching the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural Schedule - Ancestry Version" we saw how to search Ancestry for the agricultural schedule of the 1851 census of Canada West to locate concession and lot where my 4th great-grandfather, Alexander Fraser, resided. However, not all of us have access to Ancestry so what about using the census enumerations held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and available for free?

The first step is to get to the Census of 1851 on the Library and Archives Canada web site. When you arrive on the Library and Archives Canada site lick on "Search the Collection" and then "Censuses" on the items listed.

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada home page showing the items under the Search the Collection tab.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada home page showing the items under the Search the Collection tab.

Doing that will bring up the Censuses landing page. On the left side of the page the various enumerations available on Library and Archives Canada are listed from the 1825 census of Lower Canada to the 1926 census of the Prairie Provinces. 

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Censuses landing page.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Censuses landing page.

Click on the 1851 Census to bring up it's page.

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 landing page.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 landing page.

Before diving into searching the census, do yourself a favour and review the various bits of information about the Census of 1851. You may learn what has actually survived, why better images of the pages can't be made, and some of the acronyms that may have been used on by the enumerator.

Like with Ancestry we need to find the household in the population schedule. To start that process click on the "Search Database" button to bring up the search screen.

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 Search Database screen with minimal details about Alexander of Drummond Sub-District, Lanark District entered.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 Search Database screen with minimal details about Alexander of Drummond Sub-District, Lanark District entered.

This is where is becomes a little bit challenging. Unlike Ancestry or other genealogy focused web sites, Library and Archives Canada really doesn't have a system behind the scenes to help you with misspelled names or transcription issues. If the District Name, often the county, and Sub-District Name, sometimes the town or township, are known then that information may be entered into the advanced search options. The other gotcha is that the transcriptions appear to have come from Ancestry and, as we saw in the challenges with using Ancestry to do the search, the transcriptions may be a little out of whack

In the above image I didn't even put Alexander's surname in the search box since when I did that it only returned the entry for Alexander Fraser Esq. And from the exercise undertaken with Ancestry, I know that is the wrong Alexander Fraser for my family research.

After a bit a searching I found the family in the results under the surname of "Traser".

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 search results item page for Alexander Traser.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 search results item page for Alexander Traser.

As with the results from Ancestry we want to look at the image and also record the neighbours. In this case they are the families of John Hunter and Evin Griffith.

Before we continue I want to point out an interesting curiosity with Library and Archives Canada making use of the indexes created by Ancestry. When I did that basic search for Alexander in Drummond Sub-District, Lanark District I noticed that a number of the returned results didn't have ages listed for the individuals. The same sort of lack of information occurred on Ancestry, could they be the Agricultural schedules? 

Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 partial search results for Alexander of Drummond Sub-District, Lanark District.
Screen capture of the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1851 partial search results for Alexander of Drummond Sub-District, Lanark District.

A quick check of the first one revealed that it was indeed the Agricultural schedule but for that other Alexander Fraser, Esquire. However, the second returned result, "Alexander Jeans", turned out to be my Alexander Fraser. 

1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Ontario, Lanark (county), district 19, sub-district 180, Drummond Township, p. 39, Agricultural schedule for Alexander Fraser; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada (http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/ : accessed 10 Feb 2021); citing microfilm C-11732.
1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Ontario, Lanark (county), district 19, sub-district 180, Drummond Township, p. 39, Agricultural schedule for Alexander Fraser; RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada (http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/ : accessed 10 Feb 2021); citing microfilm C-11732.

How do we know that it is the right one? By looking at the neighbours. We see that the John Hunter and Evin Griffith we found in the population schedule surround Alexander Fraser in this schedule.

However, if we can't find the right page in the agricultural schedule by searching the database there is another way. Library and Archives Canada has created a PDF file for the 1851 Canada West - Agricultural Census listing the District and Sub-District along with the associated image held in their CollectionsCanada site.

Screen capture of the 1851 Canada West - Agricultural Census PDF from Library and Archives Canada searching for "drummond".
Screen capture of the 1851 Canada West - Agricultural Census PDF from Library and Archives Canada searching for "drummond".

Here we can see the search results within the PDF file when looking for Drummond. Why Drummond? That is the name of the Sub-District from the page in the population schedule we found previously. To look at the images we need to click on underlined links to data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca. Then it is the manual process of reviewing each image for the name we are interested in. Again, knowing the name of the neighbours can help us to identify the correct head of household in the agricultural schedule.

Those page numbers listed in the PDF can also help though to cut down the number of pages we need to look at. The "a" pages are the ones with the names. The page numbers in the parentheses are the page numbers stamped on the top right corner of the page.

Hopefully these instructions will help you find where your ancestor was "on the ground" in Canada West in the 1851 census.



1. For the Census of 1851 I have sometimes used the free FamilySearch site to search for the individual in the census and learn the District and Sub-District numbers and names. Unfortunately, FamilySearch doesn't have the images on their site.







Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Missing images from the 1861 Census of Canada West on Ancestry?

The following comment in my blog post "A Challenge: 1861 Census of Canada - Agricultural Schedule" has led me down an interesting journey.

"...I was disappointed to see that in 61 they didn't list livestock, just crops etc. Was this a universal change in all of Canada, or maybe I'm missing something. Would have loved to see livestock 'growth' from 51 to 61..."

Before I go any further, I have to warn you that this may get a little messy since I will be dealing with manipulating URLs and and following links upon links to get to an answer.

To answer the question posed I first needed to know what the enumerators were supposed to collect. For that I turned to the Library and Archives Canada Census of 1861 page. There, under the "Instructions to enumerators" section they link to the Instructions to Enumerators found on Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) site. They reference David P. Gagan, "Enumerator's Instructions for the Census of Canada, 1852 and 1861, "Histoire sociale/Social History", Vol. VII, No. 14 (November 1974): 355-365 as one of their sources for the information. Fortunately that journal, "Histoire sociale/Social History", has been made available to us online and the article itself can be found at "Enumerator's Instructions for the Census of Canada 1852 and 1861"

What caught my eye in instructions provided in the article by Mr. Gagan was this:

"In column 50 it has been thought desirable to designate the value of working horses separate from other animals, as they are an important element in the agricultural policy of the country.

Column 54 should include the value of all the live stock mentioned in columns 46 to 53 inclusive. They form a very important item in the wealth of the country and will be a criteria of the comparative state of agriculture in each township or county, and also in Canada as compared with other countries.
"

So there should be at least 54 columns in the return for the agricultural census in 1861. Here is an example from the Township of Montague in the County of Lanark, Canada West from the 1861 Census of Canada collection on Ancestry:

1861 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Canada West, Lanark County, district 11, Township of Montague, Agricultural schedule, p 22; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1042-1043.
1861 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Canada West, Lanark County, district 11, Township of Montague, Agricultural schedule, p 22; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1042-1043.

Only one problem. On Ancestry the column numbers only go from 1 to 38. If I go to the next image on Ancestry it is just like this image, columns 1 to 38. Where are these mysteriously missing additional columns that, according to David P. Gagan, should exist?

Normally I will often make use of collections on Ancestry since their search and navigation tools allow me to quickly find information. However, since something seems to be a bit funky here, I'm going to go to follow my own instructions in my blog post and use the images found on the Library and Archives Canada site.

But first I need to record something from Ancestry, the URL of the image that they present to me in my browser.

https://www.ancestry.ca/imageviewer/collections/1570/images/4391558_00386?usePUB=true&_phsrc=FHJ71689&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=798644016

Most of this stuff in the URL doesn't mean a lot to me but I do know that the 4391558_00386 part is actually useful. This is the image reference from Library and Archives Canada. This is really important.

In my blog post "A Challenge: 1861 Census of Canada - Agricultural Schedule" I provide the instructions on how to that that number and create a URL to display the image found on the Library and Archives Canada servers: https://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/1861/jpg/4391558_00386.jpg.

Lo and behold, the correct image appears.

What if I make one tiny little change to that URL on the Library and Archives Canada site by changing the last digit from 6 to 7 so it brings up the next page: https://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/1861/jpg/4391558_00387.jpg.

Census of 1861, Canada West, Lanark County, district 11, Township of Montague, Agricultural schedule, p 22 (continued); RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 17 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1042-1043.
Census of 1861, Canada West, Lanark County, district 11, Township of Montague, Agricultural schedule, p 22 (continued); RG 31; digital images, Library and Archives Canada, Library and Archives Canada (www.bac-lac.gc.ca : accessed 17 Feb 2021); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-1042-1043.

Just a second...

There are our missing columns! They go from 39 to 69. There is information about the livestock, minerals mined, and even if they had a "pleasure carriage". This is really interesting stuff that can add to the story of your ancestors. If they are listed in the 1851 and 1871 census and we can find the agriculture schedule entries for them we might be able to learn about their ups and downs. Did they get more land? Do they have more or less sheep, pigs, horses, or cows?

But back to the issue at hand. I now know that the pages with the missing columns were microfilmed and even digitized since I can find them on the Library and Archives Canada servers. How about going back to Ancestry to see if I missed something.

On Ancestry we can use the navigation buttons and virtual filmstrip to move around to the next and previous images. Instead of concentrating on the image, let's concentrate on those URLs.

As I mentioned, the image I was looking at in the agricultural census had the URL starting with  https://www.ancestry.ca/imageviewer/collections/1570/images/4391558_00386. If I put that into my browser the image appears without any issues as long as my subscription lets me see that collection and associated images. 

What happens if I click on the "Next image" navigation button to bring up the next page in Ancestry's collection of images? It should go from 4391558_00386 to 4391558_00387...right?

Hmmm....the URL displayed is https://www.ancestry.ca/imageviewer/collections/1570/images/4391558_00388. It just jumped from 386 to 388. I'm not a genius when it comes to advanced mathematics but shouldn't 387 have come next? That's what was next when I looked at the images on the Library and Archives Canada site. What about going to the next image? It leapt over 389 and displayed the image with the URL https://www.ancestry.ca/imageviewer/collections/1570/images/4391558_00390.

How about if I play with the URL on Ancestry like I did with the one from Library and Archives Canada and change the last digit from 6 to 7? Will it display the missing page?

Screen capture of Ancestry web page for image 4391558_00387 in the 1861 Census of Canada collection.
Screen capture of Ancestry web page for image 4391558_00387 in the 1861 Census of Canada collection.

Nope. Instead it displays what I've come to call the "missing image" page on Ancestry.

So it looks like Ancestry has decided to not include the second part of the agriculture return pages for the Census of 1861 for Canada West in their collection of images. In my opinion this does us, the researcher, a disservice since it is an omission of information that can shed additional light into the lives of our ancestors. Fortunately, with a bit of effort, we can still find the information on the Library and Archives Canada site.

It also reminds us that we can't rely on what the <insert genealogy site here> decides to show us which they got from somewhere else. Whenever possible look to see if the original site has the information and take a look there for additional clues, or in this case, missing images.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Searching the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural Schedule - Ancestry Version

One of the greatest challenges when trying to find your ancestors in the Ontario land records, whether those records are found within the Ontario Land Registry Access System (OnLand), on FamilySearch in the county Land & Property collections, or in the Ontario Township Papers on FamilySearch is to find them on the ground with a concession and lot mentioned

I tackled the challenge of looking at the 1861 census of Canada in "A Challenge: 1861 Census of Canada - Agricultural Schedule" and locating the agricultural schedule on the Library and Archives Canada site.

However, the 18511 census of Canada West also has a surviving Agriculture Schedule. So how about we see what we can do to find the concession and lot for someone listed in the 1851 census who resides in a rural area.

In this post we are going to do the search using Ancestry2. In a future post we will use the free census collections on Library and Archives Canada to look for the same information. In this exercise our subject will be my 4th great-grandfather, Alexander Fraser. He arrived in 1816 in Upper Canada, settled in the Perth Military Settlement, and died in 1862.

The first challenge is that we want to find him with his family in the 1851 census. We don't want to be distracted or confused with other enumerations so step one is to bring up the 1851 census of Canada West. On Ancestry we can do that by searching the Card Catalogue. On the top menu bar in Ancestry click on "Search" and then select "Card Catalogue" from the list of items to search in.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the Card Catalogue item in the Search options.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the Card Catalogue item in the Search options.

Once the search screen for the Card Catalogue appears enter in "1851 census canada west" (without the quotes) in the Keyword(s) search box and click Search. You will hopefully see a screen similar to this.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the keywords and search result for looking for the 1851 Census of Canada West.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the keywords and search result for looking for the 1851 Census of Canada West.

Click on the 1851 Census of Canada West, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia title to bring up the search page for that census. In the search screen that is presented just fill in the information as usual. In this case, Alexander Fraser living in Lanark, Ontario, Canada is enough to find him in the population schedule of this census.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the search filters used to locate Alexander Fraser in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1851 Census of Canada West along with the first five results returned.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the search filters used to locate Alexander Fraser in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1851 Census of Canada West along with the first five results returned.

I happen to know from previous research that there are two Alexander Frasers living in Drummond Township, Lanark County, Canada West and mine isn't the Esquire. 

As an aside...those "Jeans" and "Traser" surnames? Yes they are actually "Fraser" once you review the image of the census enumeration page but the transcriptions have a little bit to be desired in their accuracy. Some of them, those with the pencil mark beside them, have had corrections submitted and accepted by Ancestry as alternate info.

1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Canada West, Lanark County, district 19, sub-district 180, p. 9, Alexander Fraser and family; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 May 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-11732.
1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Canada West, Lanark County, district 19, sub-district 180, p. 9, Alexander Fraser and family; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 May 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-11732.

Here we can see the household of my Alexander Fraser in the 1851 census of Canada West. His surname in this case is transcribed as "Traser" It is sometimes useful to know who the neighbours are to make sure you are looking at the right person in the agricultural schedule. In this case they are John Hunter and Evin Griffith.

At least we know that the family is "on the ground" so to speak in Drummond Township, Lanark County, Canada West. Now we can look for them in the agricultural schedule of that census. 

To search for the head of household in the agricultural schedule it is just list the previous search. In the search box only put in the first and last name, the location the family was residing, and finally add the keyword of "agricultural" and tick the check box for the Keyword to be exact.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the search filters used to locate Alexander Fraser in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural schedule.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the search filters used to locate Alexander Fraser in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural schedule.

Since we know that the transcriptions are a challenge in this enumeration the other surnames seen, Jeans and Traser, are also added to the "last Name" search box.

Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the search filters used to locate Alexander Fraser in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural schedule along with the first four results returned.
Screen capture from Ancestry.ca showing the search filters used to locate Alexander Fraser in Lanark, Ontario, Canada in the 1851 Census of Canada West Agricultural schedule along with the first four results returned.

You might notice that, unlike the population schedule, there are no birth years or birth places listed. This makes sense since that information isn't recorded within the agricultural schedule.

There are only two entries in Drummond Township, where we found them in the population schedule, and we also know that the Esquire isn't the Alexander we are looking for so that leaves us with "Alexander Jeans".

1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Canada West, Lanark County, district 19, sub-district 180, p. 39, Agriculture schedule - Alexander Fraser; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 May 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-11732.
1851 census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, Canada West, Lanark County, district 19, sub-district 180, p. 39, Agriculture schedule - Alexander Fraser; RG 31; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 May 2013); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm C-11732.

There he is on line 32 surrounded by John Hunter and Evin Griffith, his neighbours we saw in the population schedule. From the schedule we can see that on 12 Jan 1852 he was residing on the 2nd Concession, west half of lot 12 in the Township of Drummond in Lanark County, Canada West. He also had 100 acres of land on this property with 50 acres "under cultivation" broken down with 38 acres of it under crops and 12 acres as pasture.

What can we do with this information?

How about:

  • Locate the land transactions within the OnLand Historical books and record the instrument numbers
  • Find copies of the land transaction instruments on FamilySearch to learn about how the lot is described, from whom it was bought, and later, to whom it was sold
  • Check the Ontario Township Papers on FamilySearch for possible additional records
  • Road trip!

For me, the last option was the most fun. Being able to stand on, or at least near, the land where my ancestor worked provided that intangible connection to him and his family.



1. Although the 1851 census of Canada East and Canada West actually took place on 12 Jan 1852 I will still be referring to this as the 1851 census.

2. During this COVID-19 pandemic many libraries have been able to offer access to the library version of Ancestry from the comfort of their patrons' homes. If you don't have your own subscription to Ancestry see if your library is offering access to their edition. Note that the Ancestry links I am using are for the personal edition but the process works also in the library edition.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Searching the Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database

On February 4, 2021, the Ontario Ancestors hosted Serge Paquet from the Archives of Ontario where he gave the presentation "From Petition to Patent: Crown Land Records at the Archives of Ontario". A copy of this webinar can be found archived on the Ontario Ancestors Webinar Recordings page.

One of the record sets he mentioned was that of the Second Heir and Devisee Commission case files. In this collection there are 5184 case files date from 1804 to 1895 and document claims for land. From the About section on the Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database page at the Archives of Ontario this is what may possibly be found in the case files:
  • Copies of searches conducted by the Surveyor General's and, later, the Crown Lands Department, and sent to the Commission recording: whether a location had been made for the land in question and, if so, the name of the individual to whom the land was located and when the location was made; the justification for the location (e.g., an order-in-council); background information relating to the location; whether the land had been described for a patent; whether settlement requirements had been met. Files also may include copies of location tickets;
  • Notices signifying the intent of claimants to pursue a claim before the Commission, as well as affidavits from the local Clerk of the Peace attesting that the notice had been publicly read and proclaimed in the Court of General Quarter Sessions and had been displayed in the office of the clerk;
  • Lists of documents compiled and submitted relating to the claim, as well as affidavits submitted by claimants and supporting affidavits from witnesses;
  • Copies of relevant indentures assigning interest in the land in question, as well as original wills and copies of wills assigning interest in land to heirs;
  • Affidavits from Land Registrars attesting to the fact that the indentures, memorials and wills in question had been registered, as well as incoming correspondence received by the Commission from claimants, trustees, solicitors, and other interested parties;
  • Copies of receipts issued by the Crown Lands Department documenting the payment of instalments on sales as well as reports from land agents relating to the claim in question, and maps showing the land claimed.
  • Some files include family trees. Documents within the files can contain genealogical information concerning the background of both the original locatee and of the claimant, their occupation, and family connections.
So how do we use this potentially useful resource?

The first step is to search the database. The link to that database is sort of hidden on the page. It is actually the clickable link in the word database in the first paragraph on the Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database page. When you click on that link you are brought to the search screen.

Screen capture of the Archives of Ontario Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database search page.
Screen capture of the Archives of Ontario Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database search page.
 
As an example, I'm going to use the name of David Lee of Bastard Township. Why David Lee? No other reason than this is the person Serge Paquet used in his examples during his webinar.
 
This is the result of that search.
 
Screen capture of the Archives of Ontario Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database search for David Lee of Bastard township.
Screen capture of the Archives of Ontario Second Heir and Devisee Commission Case Files Database search for David Lee of Bastard township.

Only one entry appeared in this case. If more than one entry was in the database you are presented with a list of names and check boxes to select, and the option to "Show Selected Records"

From the search results screen there are a few details we need to record. The first is the Case File Number. In this example it is 40-0555. The other detail is in the line near the bottom in the "How to view this file" section. We can see that the Family History Centre has also recorded the case files on their microfilm reel 1314011. We will need that microfilm number in the next set of steps.
 
For the next step go to the FamilySearch site and sign in with your free account. 
 
Instead of searching for a location we are going to search for that microfilm number provided in the search page from the Archives of Ontario. To do that:
  1. Clink on "Search" in the top menu bar, then select "Catalog"
  2. On the FamilySearch Catalog search screen click on the "Film/Fiche Number" link
  3. Type in the microfilm number. In this case it is 1314011
  4. Then click the Search button
 
Screen capture of the FamilySearch Catalog search screen looking for microfilm 1314011.
Screen capture of the FamilySearch Catalog search screen looking for microfilm 1314011.

By doing the search for the microfilm number we don't have to guess as to which collection holds that microfilm.
 
The search results will show "Land records, 1796-1894; Author:    Ontario. Heir and Devisee Commission (2nd); Upper Canada. Heir and Devisee Commission (1st)"

Clicking on that link will display the list of all the microfilms in that collection. You will need to find that microfilm, in this case 1314011, in the list. Usually I will just press Ctrl-F (or whatever the "find" command keystroke is in your web browser) and type in the microfilm number to have my browser bring me to the correct microfilm on the page.

Once you find the microfilm number in the list you will see that it is associated with "Case files (40-554 to -631) 1822-1823". Since our case number is 40-0555 I would say we have found the correct microfilm.

Since these pages are viewable from home we just need to click on the camera icon found on the same line as microfilm number in order to bring up the digitized microfilm.

This is where Case File Number, 40-0555, which we also wrote down finally comes into play. 
 
It's  now old fashioned using newfangled technology research  since we need to go through the digitized microfilm images to locate the start of Case File Number 40-0555. A few minutes later and we find this:

Screen capture of the file start for Case File Number 40-555 at image 11 from FHL 1,314,011 in the Canada, Ontario - Land records, 1796-1894 collection.
Screen capture of the file start for Case File Number 40-555 at image 11 from FHL 1,314,011 in the Canada, Ontario - Land records, 1796-1894 collection.

This is the start of the file concerning David Lee of Bastard Township and there are 29 additional pages concerning the issues over the land. A potential treasure trove of information.