Ryan Taylor More resources for Elgin County


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By Ryan Taylor

The Ontario Genealogical Society has taken another step toward providing more family history data via the internet.

Elgin County Branch OGS' website includes a section called Online Publications. These are short but information-filled compilations which have not been published anywhere else. The authors have donated them to the branch, who makes them accessible to the public at no charge.

Robert G. Moore of St. Thomas found the original shareholders list for several road-building companies in Elgin from the 1850s. He reproduces the lists, with short histories of the companies. He has also indexed the 1864 Tremaine wall map of Elgin.

Bruce C. Johnson's interests are in Malahide Township, where his ancestors were early settlers. He has indexed the 1842 Malahide census, the 1828 township militia list and names from area cenotaphs. He has begun transcribing the diary of Nicholas Carter Brown. The diary runs from 1859 to 1910, and Brown included many references to local births, deaths and marriages. These are the references Johnson is extracting.

Johnson has even done some of the work for other researchers by compiling genealogies of several early Malahide families. These are on the website in handsome PDF files, some of more than thirty pages. The families currently listed are Brown, Connor, Carter, Felker, Johnson, Miller, Nickerson and Young.

Former Elgin County Branch chair Jim McCallum of Monkton has contributed records from St. Peter's Anglican Church, Tyrconnel, and an index to a county history. Much of his other work for the branch, including land records and census indexes, is available for sale from the branch.

This wide variety of publications is a welcome addition to genealogical books available for researchers. The form may be new but the results are the same-progress in compiling our family trees. McCallum says, "I think we're the only OGS branch posting such content." No doubt other branches will be taking note and urging their members to contribute short publications for their own websites.

Elgin County Branch has also mounted its research handbook for Elgin on the website. In all, it is one of the most professional and helpful society websites I have seen. They are justifiably proud of their work.

Researchers in southwestern Ontario are fortunate in the resources available to them. OGS branches in Elgin, Kent and London-Middlesex all have their own research libraries offering cemetery transcriptions, census indexes and reference books for their areas. These are staffed by volunteer members. In fact, OGS volunteers are at work everywhere creating more resources for researchers' benefit.

Scottish Speakers: If you have trouble understanding the speech of your Scottish grandmother, or simply can't quite get Robbie Burns' vocabulary, a new website will help you. Dundee University has launched a Scottish dictionary. It includes the full twelve volume Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue.

If you don't quite get a match, the new site will suggest possible matches, including those where your word forms part of longer entries. As well as definitions, the dictionary gives examples of how the words are used.

Looking for 'slikit', from a Burns poem (I thought), I found no hits. The dictionary suggested slekit instead, and gave me the beautiful if incomprehensible example, "All snog and slekit worth thir bestis skynnys". More work translated the first part of the example as 'all neat and smooth' but both 'bestis' and 'skynnys' defeated even the DSL. Perhaps Scots is just an impenetrable language.

Posted May 25, 2004
Column copyright © 2004 Ryan Taylor

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