Initiative Begins to Digitally Preserve Ontario’s Historical Vernon Directories
Contributed By FamilySearch
- The directories list the names of local residents, their spouses, addresses, and sometimes even an individual’s title or position held at work.
The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are working with FamilySearch International to digitize the historical Vernon directories for the province of Ontario. The initiative will begin immediately to preserve and make the directories freely searchable online for family historians, researchers, and Canadians.
Vernon directories were published yearly, by city, from the 1890s to 2014, except 2010, when the company’s ownership changed. They cover most of Ontario, including the province’s capital city of Toronto. The name “Vernon directories” is derived from the name of the publisher. The initiative will encompass an estimated 1,875 directories.
OGS approached Vernon to request rights to digitize the historical publications. The publisher granted noncommercial permission to digitize the directories. The nonprofit organization FamilySearch quickly emerged as a logical partner, namely due to its optical character recognition scanning technology that will make every word searchable. As well, OGS approached LAC for the project, as LAC holds one of the biggest collections of Vernon directories in Ontario. In addition to providing access to its collection, LAC will be hosting the digitization project.
According to Steve Fulton, UE, president of the Ontario Genealogical Society, the directories are a rich resource for researchers because “they list the names of local residents, their spouses, addresses, and sometimes even an individual’s title or position held at work.” Fulton explained that the directories were personally helpful to him in trying to determine when his grandfather passed away. “Through the directories, I determined he died between 1956 and 1957. I was then able to turn to newspaper obituaries for the area at that time to find him.”
This project will allow OGS and LAC to offer a very complete collection of directories for Ontario. The intent is also to reach out to local libraries for any missing directories that might be found in their collections.
About Library and Archives Canada
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social, and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation, and diffusion of knowledge and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. Follow Library and Archives Canada on Twitter (@LibraryArchives), Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.
About the Ontario Genealogical Society
The Ontario Genealogical Society, an Ontario registered nonprofit corporation and a registered Canadian charity, is Canada’s largest member-supported genealogical organization. Founded in 1961, with the vision of being recognized as the authority and leader in all aspects of Ontario-related family history research, preservation, and communication, the mission of the OGS is to encourage, bring together, and assist those interested in the pursuit of family history and to preserve Ontario’s genealogical heritage. Visit their website at https://ogs.on.ca for more information.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.