Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ancestry has finally finished it!

This morning I switched on my computer to see the following headline on Anglo Celtic Connections:

What good news! 

The two sections of the 1861 census for Toronto that Ancestry have just uploaded are very important. 

The St James’s Ward section covers the northern part of the ward: from a block or two south of Carlton Street north to Bloor Street, and from Yonge over to Jarvis. The people who lived there were, to use their term, in “comfortable circumstances” compared to those living to the south, the west and the east. Many surnames that link with long-lived Toronto businesses will be found there, along with those in academic professions—both the Normal School and the original Medical School run by Victoria University were located there.

The other microfilm reel covers only the westernmost 40 houses in St Patrick’s Ward, but amongst the householders were two sons of the Dension family, one of the earliest to settle in the neighbourhood. The remainder of this reel is titled “Institutions”. What institutions you may ask? First, the ones you might think of: the Jail, the general hospital, the two hospitals for the mentally troubled, and orphanages and convents. But, in addition, are the inhabitants of Toronto Island, the students at the theological colleges, and most important of all from a worldwide genealogical point of view, the soldiers at Old Fort York and the New Barracks. There were more than 400 people listed, not all of them soldiers—many had their wives and children with them. Birthplaces are given and this should allow family historians to trace these families from posting to posting. There are many Gibraltar references, for instance.

Five years ago I transcribed Toronto 1861 myself, I am so pleased that it is now online for all to see.