Index to Ontario Wills on OnLand

I was working on OnLand this morning and was surprised to see an option on the Historical Books to browse through a will index. I am not sure if this is well known so I will go through how I discovered the wills on this site.

  1. Start at the OnLand website and select your County of interest

2. After you have your location selected you want to click the Historical Books

3. Next selection is the General Register Index

4. And it brought me to this page and I spotted the wills index.

A few things to note, the wills index is sorted by alphabet but once you find your letter of the surname you are interested in it, it is not alphabetical.

It doesn’t appear that this is available for every County as when I checked Grey Co. I was disappointed.

Another thing to keep in mind, the indexes I checked appeared to be more recent but it could vary depending on which county you are interested in.

Happy searching!

4 Steps For Finding Quebec Notary Records Online

Yesterday a post by Gail Dever alerted me about a webinar hosted by Family Search covering Quebec Notary records. I arrived to the webinar in time and enjoyed watching the class and learned ow to find Notary records online.

I have spent quite a but of time working with the index to Quebec Notary records created by Ancestry. At Ancestry some of the records have been added but for the most part I have found it is mainly an index. If you keep reading you will find out how to find them online.

Usually when I find a file at Ancestry that I want to order I jot the information and send a request to the Quebec Archives (BAnQ). Now I know an easier way thanks to Family Search, because they have the records on their site!

Here’s the process

Step 1

At Ancestry do a search on their Quebec Notarial Records 1637-1935 (a search on the Catalogue should help you locate the record set, if the above link doesn’t take you there). My search results for Robert Jeffrey shows quite a few so I will look for the 1821 record, since I know that will not be his son.

Screenshot of search result for Robert Jeffery at Ancestry’s Notarial Records

Click the View Record or hover your mouse over it to see added information. I clicked the underlined one on the above list and here is what is shown on when I hover my mouse over it.

Step 2

Copy down the information that is underlined above, you want the date of the record, the act number and super important is the Notary name, as the Notary name is how you will be searching at Family Search.

Step 3

Head over to Family Search and log in to your free account. Once you are signed in at the top headings hover over search and in the drop down menu click on Catalog. That should lead you to a page that looks like this –

Ok, if you have gotten this far you are doing great! Almost there! Click on Author, on the next page *do not put in anything in the place field*, but in the Author field put the Notary’s name. (Please note that not all Notaries records are here but there are many and definitely worth searching.)

Step 4

Once you have been successful in finding a Notary name click it and below that you will see the record set.

Click on Actes de notaire and you have arrived. Scroll all the way down the page and you will see all the films that Family Search has for that Notary.

List of records for Henry Griffin at Family Search

I need #3793 and once I find the correct film, I click the camera icon at the end of the line and voila I am looking at the microfilm from my home.

Now all I need to do is make my way through the film checking the top left corner to see what number I am at and using scrolling/ jumping ahead by changing the number in the Image box I make my way to the record.

Hugh McAdam & Robert Jeffrey #3793 found on Family Search

As I cannot read french I am grateful that this record is in English. This Notary record is Hugh McAdam complaining about the work done by Robert Jafferey who he had hired as a stone mason. A nice nugget for my research on Robert.

Hope this is helpful and you, like me will enjoy looking through these records.

*featured image free from Pixaby

Military Resource: Royal Military College, Kingston

Canada’s Royal Military College is located in Kingston, Ontario, opening in 1876 with the first class of 18 students graduating in 1880. More history on the college can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

The Royal Military College Museum houses many resources that are of interest to genealogists.

The RMC Museum’s website has digitized online the Commandant’s Reports from 1876-1920 with some years missing. Scrolling further down on the same page and another amazing resources is the yearbooks RMC Review that cover the dates 1920 – 1940. There are some issues missing, a big gap between 1927-1934 but still worth a look if you suspect an ancestor attended the College.

Another website that have copies of the RMC Review digitized and online is the Toronto Public Library, they have 15 issues; 4 from 1920-1929 and 11 from 1930-1959.

RMC Review front cover 1924

The Museum also contains artifacts, photographs, uniforms, art, etc. and is also a part of Fort Frederick, in Kingston, Ontario. I have added it to my growing list of places to see AC (After Cov-id).

*photo of the Royal Military College (1910) was found on the Toronto Public Library website and is in the public domain.

Military Resource: Vancouver Gunners

In looking for lesser known Military resources in Canada I came across this website: Vancouver Gunners. The site explains that it covers the Artillery on the mainland of B.C. and specifically the 15th Field Regiment.

The site has a Nominal Roll that you can look through for your ancestor. Another great resource on the page is their Yearbook, this is slightly different than a typical yearbook. It explains on their webpage it is a “collection of memories over the history of the Regiment”. The yearbook starts in 1910 and goes all the way to present day and has biographies for the soldiers and there are also photos for some.

Good luck with your Military research!

Military Resources: Digitized Yearbooks 1943-1995 Victoria, B.C. Naval College

In the lead up to Remembrance Day I plan to write about some lesser-known Canadian resources for researching your military ancestors.

The lastest find is “The Log which is the yearbook for the Royal Roads Military College located in Victoria B.C. These are digitized and available on-line for the dates 1943-1995.

The first edition that is on-line is for 1943 but keep in mind that it is Volume 5 so potentially there could be earlier ones, although there is no mention of earlier editions on their site.

There is no searchable index so it does mean a bit of slogging to go through each year, but if you have an ancestor who attended the RRMC this resource is not to be missed.

Cover of “The Log”, 1943

The RRMC site is well laid out, easy to use and the yearbook pages are clear, so kudos to the College for having this resource available.

*featured image from pixaby

Early Canadian Military Reports 1864-1925

As we are approaching Remembrance Day 2020 I wanted to share with you some lesser used Canadian Military resources that you can find without leaving your house.

This post covers the Department of Militia and Defence for the Dominion of Canada Report that date from 1864-1925. These are a wonderful resource, but you have to open each link and look at the pdf, not as easy as being able to do a name search but worth your time. I would suggest creating a spreadsheet as you go through the reports and make note of where you see the regiment you are interested in.

What will You Find

When I looked through I rarely found regular soldiers mentioned, you will find interesting items about different units and the Military Schools.

In 1873 mentioned in a report are the schools in Kingston, Quebec, Toronto, Fredericton, Halifax and Montreal, in 1873.

It’s like watching the growth of the Military in Canada. This resource is a great way to track what was happening in your soldier’s life, especially the pre WWI years.

This is a report of Inspections yet to happen for certain units of Military.

A list of Corps yet to be inspected in 1873, pt2 pg 21

In pt. 3 of the report there is almost four pages covering “B” Battery. I would likely never have this amount of detail as to a year in my ancestors life without this type of record.

Start of the 1873 pt. 3 report of “B” Battery pg 51-55

In the same report in 1873 there is a description given of the rooms located in Tete-du pont barracks in Kingston, Ontario

Description of rooms at Tete-du pont barracks in Kingston State of the Militia Report 1873, pt 3 pg 61

I hope this resource is of some help to you as we get closer to Remembrance Day and honouring all the sacrifices by those who came before us.

What Did They Pack on The Yukon Expedition of 1898?

In 1898 the Royal Canadian Artillery along with soldiers from Royal Dragoons, and the soon to be formed Royal Canadian Regiment travelled to the Yukon in the spring of 1898. The trip was to support the RCMP (including the famous Sam Steele) and to protect Canadian interests from the Americans.

Reading through a newspaper on-line on the BAnQ website produced a list of soldiers from the Royal Canadian Artillery who were to be a part of the contingent:

Sergeants: A. Lyndon & S. Jordan

Corporal: Power

Bombardiers: Lorton, Bessatte, Thompson, Lyndon, Matthew, Marshall, Mooney, Garland

Gunners: Russell, McGillivary, McDonald, Anderson, Kingwell, Enfield, Rochette, Hudson, Kelley, Martin, Warren, Hurley, Butler, McKeen, Brunet, Laverdiere, McMillan, McMahon, Dumas

These soldiers along with soldiers from the Royal Dragoons and what is soon to be the Royal Canadian Regiment for a total of 203 men set off to lend support in the Yukon. They became known as the Yukon Field Force.

Quebec Morning Chronicle Mar 22, 1898 list of men from RCA to go on the Yukon Expedition. From the BAnQ website

What to Pack?

The Quebec Morning Chronicle newspaper also provided what is in their kits (what they were allowed to bring), the list is long but interesting. For instance included in the list is house wife listed along with all the supplies the Soldier may bring. The other items on the list include:

Boots (ankle) -1

boots (dolge felt) -1

moccasins (buff, long) -1

moccasins (elk) -1

neaps or duffles -1

socks (woolen) – 4 pairs

stockings -1

drawers – 2 pair

undershorts -2

sweaters -2

trousers, cloth -1

trousers (serge) -1

trousers canvas -1

frocks, serge -2

jackets, canvas -1

jackets, oil cloth -1

overcoats and cape -1

helmet – 1

hats, sombrero – 1

hoods, mosquitos – 1

mits, elk – 1

mits, woollen – 2

gloves, leather – 2

muffler, red – 1

mosquito net – 1 yard

blankets, 2 double

sheets, waterproof – 1 pair

kit bag – 1

house wife – 1

plates, tin – 1

cup, with handle -1

knife with clasp – 1

goggles – 1 pair

suite linen – 1

caps, oil skin – 1

tuques, red woolen – 1

caps, oil skin – 1

caps, field service -1

Quebec Morning Chronicle Mar 22, 1898; kit list for the Yukon Expedition. From the BAnQ website

I am having a hard time deciding if the house wife is a spelling error or if the wives were literally listed along with items in their kit bag. Should it have said house knife? In researching this Expedition I didn’t see any mention of housewives so my gut tells me the newspaper entry was (hopefully) an error.

It seems there was some controversy around the Military and the NWMP about authority and who was in charge at least leading up to the deployment of the soldiers.

Soldier on the Yukon Expedition 1898. Image used with permission of artist TG Hamilton

Did he go?

There is no doubt that the S. Jordan (Samuel Jordan) mentioned in the list from the newspaper article is my relative. I would like to confirm if he did go. In 1897 Samuel had lost his wife and infant son and I think this opportunity would have been a wonderful escape from his grief. If Sam was on the Yukon Expedition I have a hope that I may find a photograph of him.

I have sent an email to both the RCA Museum and the Canadian War Museum to find out if they have a list of soldiers who went on the Expedition.

Further reading and resources:

The Jeffrey Men And Grisly Discoveries in the Waters of the St. Lawrence Pt.1

A Quebec City family who spent generations finding life and death in the St. Lawrence seaway.

In the course of researching my Jeffery/Jeffrey ancestors I have pretty much ignored one branch of the tree. In my defense I had my reasons but I think the biggest was that Robert Andrew Jeffrey, my ancestress Hannah’s brother had 3 wives had a total of 21 children. Most of those children were given the names of either Joseph or Marie, I was intimidated. I was pretty sure I couldn’t track them all. On top of that the records were in French, the last straw in my mind. I tucked them away, in the peripheral of my research.

Have I gotten braver that I want to tackle this family? A bit but there are other factors as well. First off, a distant relative who is French has sorted out most of the 21 children, and so I have relied on her tree at Ancestry. This really helps alleviate my confusion.

Another reason is that BAnQ (Quebec Archives) has added so many newspapers that I can track the people in the tree better. I can’t read the French articles but I can usually make out enough that I know who the newspaper is talking about. When I get really stuck I reach out to my French relatives (Thanks Gail!) And now onto the stories uncovered about the Jeffrey boatmen.

The Hero #1

My first discovery about these boatmen and what they regularly encountered in the waters starts with Robert Andrew Jeffrey. He was born in Quebec City in 1827, the son of a Robert Jeffery a stonemason and his wife Elizabeth Tipper. I don’t know what led Robert to a life on the water but he spent his life doing just that.

The first accounting I find in the newspaper is from the Montreal Herald and Daily Commercial Gazette, July 9, 1857, the article talks about the wreck of the Montreal where 247 lives were lost, how awful. Robert Jeffrey is mentioned as recovering about 130 bodies from this wreck. How incredibly disturbing that must have been for Robert.

“Since Monday last two or three police boats have been constantly around the wreck, picking up and guarding the drowned ; and that crimps have in no case robbed the dead or even grappled for them is best proved by the fact that, of the bodies recovered, one hundred and thirty have been picked up by a boatman, named Robert Jeffery, who is well known to be a strictly honest man, and who up to the wreck in the same steamer as the Mayor, the night of the occurrence…”

Montreal Herald and Daily Commercial Gazette, July 9, 1857

When I learned he was a boatman, I guess I didn’t picture what that meant. 130 bodies retrieved by Robert, YIKES!

And then the newspaper articles kept coming, bodies discovered, rescues, the clippings mounted on my desktop. I began to wonder what toll it took? How do you let those images not haunt you? It turned into a morbid fascination for me, the lives touched, the deaths witnessed, the Jeffrey calling of the water.

In 1882, Robert was able to save Joseph Talbot of Hadlow Cove. The article goes on to state that this is the 27th person thus far that had been saved by Robert. How many people can save they saved 1, just 1 person? I think 27 would makes him a hero.

Morning Chronicle and Shipping Gazette June 10, 1882

Louis Gariepy, fell into the water on the Napoleon Wharf in 1895. Although Robert rescued him, he sadly succumbed to the effects from his fall.

Quebec Chronicle Oct 14, 1920, in a article about incidents that happened 25 years ago.

In 1888 Robert found a child drowned, the son of William Tracey which must of brought up memories of the loss of his own son in 1862. Antoine Jeffrey who drowned in the St. Lawrence when he was 10.

Quebec Saturday Budget 21, July 1888 son of William Tracey found by Robert Jeffrey

The death of Robert’s son Antoine

“Accidently drowned, on Friday, the 4th instant, Antoine Jeffery, eldest son of Robert Jeffery, aged 10 years. The funeral will leave his father’s residence, Point Levi at 3 1/2 o’clock p.m. on Sunday. Friends and acquaintances are invited to attend without further notice.”

In May 1890 an unnamed man was found by Robert, the body was in a bad state of decomposition. This just sounds awful.

“In the pond between the ferry wharf and the Montreal boat by Andrew Jeffrey, boatman…” Quebec Saturday Budget May 24, 1890

For all he did Robert was remembered in his passing in 1897, as they flew the flag at Finlay Market at half-mast.

Mr. Robert A. Jeffery, the oldest master boatman of Finlay Market wharf, died at 6 o’clock yesterday morning, after a long illness. The flag on the market wharf was flying at half-mast all day out of respect to his memory. Quebec Morning Chronicle June 4, 1897
Jeffery – On the 3rd instant, Robert A. Jeffery, master boatman, aged 77 years and eight months. The funeral will leave his late residence, No. 38 Champlain street, on Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, for the Basilica, and thence to Belmont Cemetery. Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend without further intimation. Quebec Morning Chronicle June 4, 1897

My view of a boatman working the waters between Quebec City and Levis has been completely altered reading these articles.

Part 2 next week will cover the next generation of Jeffrey boatmen who continued to work the waters of the St. Lawrence.

*Featured Image from Pixaby

Quebec and Eastern Quebec Poll Books 1814-1841

Another database has been added at the Quebec Archives BAnQ website. This one is is Poll Books of Quebec and the Eastern Quebec Region 1814-1841

This database had me entering all the names I could think of to see what would turn up.

Lucky for me Robert Jeffery appeared in 1829 and clicking his name the screen dropped down to show these details:

Robert Jeffery in the Quebec Poll Books from the BAnQ searchable database

I know this is my ancestor as he was a stone mason working in Quebec City. Let’s hope more of these types of records continue to appear at the Archives in Quebec.

Tip – to translate the pages at the Quebec Archives use Google Chrome as your browser, the link will give you more information.

*featured image from Pixaby

Indexing Manitoba Church Records at Family Search

I was browsing through the Family Search genealogy site tonight and I see they have posted an indexing project for Manitoba.

It is an indexing of Manitoba church records and appears to be new, when I looked at it there was 0% indexed. Under the description it states “This project includes birth or baptism, marriage, and death or burial records from Manitoba, Canada, from the period 1800–1950.” Once I clicked the link to view a record I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to help as the page to be indexed was in french.

I am not sure which churches this index covers but it is good to see a Canadian project on the go.

If you can read french and want to help out you can find the indexing project by clicking HERE . Maybe a good distraction from our day to day cov-id life.