Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Preparing for my First Trip to the Archives of Ontario

I'm crazy excited to be in Toronto this August for not one but TWO genealogy conferences before hubby drags me along to four days of geekery and shenanigans at FanExpo!* IMO, that much of a trip alone is cause for some serious SQUEE but imagine my surprise when I realized we're going to be staying at a hotel not 10 minutes from the Archives of Ontario.


Let the preparations begin!!! HUZZAH!!!

First on the list: reorganize trip schedule so that visit to the zoo takes place on the only day the Archives is CLOSED, rendering all free and clear to drag hubby to a FULL day of research on a day on which it is OPEN! [Shhh!! Don't tell hubby!! lol]**

Next, determine what records they have that A) I want to see in person, B) I can't get anywhere else and C) I'm ready to look up and, frankly, understand. After all, there's much info out there, lying in wait beneath the surface of the "regular" sea of records, that I still have no clue about -- and I only have 1.5 months to be organized enough to make this one, lonely little day [sigh, I always wish there could be more TIME! ...more hours in the day, more money in the bank... ] as productive as humanly possible.

Thus began the Spreadsheet of Death -


otherwise known as a comprehensive list of all the estate files and wills in the province that I still require. Which is a lot. I think I have my father's, both my grandmothers' and that someone in my family has a copy of my biological grandfather's and hubby's great grandfather's... but that's it. So my list is pretty long.

Then I have to go through the list and, according to county at time of death and date, discern whether or not the record of each person will be available to me at the archives. For many of them - those less than 40 years old - I have to contact the local courthouse. [P.I.T.A.]. For the rest... there's a mess of microfilm indices and inter-library loans to work through so that I can obtain the correct file numbers for each record. I'm not sure if I can view the indices at the archives AND see the stuff I want to look at on the same day. It's all kinda complicated... at least for someone relatively new to it all and especially for a zombie, like me, whose brain is akin to mush at times.

So, in the interim, as I make additions to the Spreadsheet of Death [DUHN-DUHN-DUHHHHNN!] and further investigate the AO website I have a plan. I'm going to start going through the printed materials for the course on Canadian Archival Centres for which I'm registered through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS). It will likely help me as I prepare for this EPIC JOURNEY in August.

Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

*Technically, he's not dragging me. I even brought it all on myself when I bought him the Premium tix for Christmas (what a good spouse I am, eh?). I'm actually looking forward to going - though I'm not so thrilled with the lineup so far... but that's another post for different blog.

**Actually, I've already told him and he's fine with it. Really! For now anyway. LOL His tune may well change around the fourth hour of forced labour as my little zombie research gopher... [ha!] But, in all honesty, he is very supportive and didn't bat one eyelash at my exclamation of glee upon discovering our pending proximity to the repository into which I've been dying to dig my grubby little- erm, I mean, my gentle and cautious white-gloved paws.