Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Finches and Ferretts

How do you turn a finch into a ferrett? Or, how do you turn a ferrett into a finch?

I have been matching people in St John’s Ward with Brown’s Directory, published in 1861-62-—about a year after the census. On the first run for each ward I work street by street in the Directory, finding the same people in the census. That is complete. The second run works from census to Directory, filtering out every one except heads of households who haven’t been found yet. The second run started with about 550 people. Some have been discarded. Perhaps they gave up on Toronto and moved elsewhere. Here, halfway through the F’s, 380 remain to be checked a second time.

And here I came across Mrs Charlotte Finch, a widow running a boarding house with four lodgers. She lived in a part of St John’s where the enumerator failed to fill in the name of the street on each census form. I went to Ancestry to re-check her name and found the form had been omitted. This usually means that the writing was more than their transcriber dared attempt. But the next form was there and the surname was clearly Bywater. The Bywaters had been matched to Brown and they lived on Park Lane north of Edward Street. During 1861 Park Lane became the eastern side of University Street which today we know as University Avenue.

In Brown’s Directory, on University Street, next door to the Bywaters was a boarding house run by Mrs C Ferrett. I have found many inaccuracies in this Directory over the past few months, but the mind boggles on this one. Just how do you turn a Finch into Ferrett?