Sunday, 3 October 2010

Autumn Revival

Like me, when you see a blog that hasn’t had any work done on it since February, you think that the author has grown tired of his or her topic and gone on to other things. Such is not the case with Toronto 1861.

When I shut down in February it was so I could put all my attention to the talk I was making at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s conference which was held in May in Toronto. And once that was over I came back full of desire to complete Phase Two of the project—to link as many inhabitants of 1861 Toronto as I could to the City Directories published by Caverhill in 1860 and by Mitchell in 1864.

Despite computer problems that have plagued me throughout the summer and are still not resolved, Phase Two is pretty much complete. The two city directories have now been compared with the census once. In fact, the whole of St Lawrence’s Ward and a part of St David’s have been subjected to a second check against Mitchell. I work through each directory, one letter of the alphabet at a time. Both the directories and the census are indexed using Soundex Code as well as surname and given name. The second check has yielded enough new matches to make me feel that repeating the operation is worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the images from the second microfilm of St James’s Ward which I copied while in Toronto disappeared without trace when I attempted to move them from a memory stick on to my main machine. Since that particular microfilm was not transcribed by Family Search, it is not a part of the 1861 census on the Ancestry website and I cannot compare my work with that very useful outside source. As a result my transcription of St James’s north of Gerrard East contains more omissions and is less accurate than it might be.

But, once this far through a phase, the temptation to look at other possible sub-projects becomes more and more irresistible. As a result I have got out my old York Township transcription and have re-jigged it into the style I used for Toronto.

Working with the first “ward” of York Township I found a whole lot of people whose names are in Mitchell’s Directory and some whose names are in Caverhill, so I am not finished linking the directories yet. In the past week I have been working with the agricultural census, trying to establish some formula to express “addresses” for the township or country inhabitants. After a lot of fiddling about I think I have established fairly specific addresses for the farming community, but it will be harder to be specific about those who made their living running a hotel or a blacksmith’s shop, or those commuting into town from their place in the country (and there were more or those than you might imagine!).

I wonder if it snowed on Sunday, January 13, 1861, and people were waiting till Monday before trying to get down to the city? Maybe going to the cottage for the weekend started earlier then we thought!

Watch this space. There will be more blogs to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment