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Ontario GenWeb Project: How Do I Do Ontario Genealogy From…
How Do I Do Ontario Genealogy From...

Researching from outside Ontario is, for the most part, the same regardless of where you live. Just because you don't live in the province doesn't mean you can't find what you're seeking where you live or nearby.

Here are a few long distance research tips:

  1. Find and utilize your local genealogy group. While their focus is local genealogy those belonging to the group have other genealogical interests -- ones that may coincide with yours. By meeting up with local genealogists you can network and help each other with your long distance roots and at the same time benefit your local group by helping them obtain their goals (after all, what goes around comes around - by helping your local group it may encourage someone in your research area to help their local group which in turn will help you!).

  2. Locate the nearest Family History Center and visit often. They do have Ontario records available worldwide and you can request specific records to be made available at your Family History Center (for a nominal fee). Click here to locate the nearest FHC.

  3. Visit your local library, college or university. Familiarize yourself with the genealogy resources available at these areas. Colleges & universities often have resources that rival public libraries. Ask about inter-library or inter-institutional loans - with these you can request materials from non-local libraries.

  4. Use what the GenWeb has to offer! This may sound silly considering you are currently reading a GenWeb page, but you'd be surprised how many GenWeb pages are overlooked. Don't restrict yourself to just the provincial website, use the county/district sites and the information they offer. And don't restrict yourself to just the areas you're researching, check neighbouring areas. Look into the history of the area you're researching - Ontario has seen many boundary changes, the area that exists today may have been vastly different in 1900. For instance if you are seeking ancestors in Rainy River District, would you know to look at Manitoba or North-West Territories prior to 1905?

  5. Locate and contact the genealogy & history group(s) in the area you are researching. Obtain membership if possible - newsletters released by the group may offer other methods of research, as well as give you contacts in your area of interest.

  6. Locate and contact any archives, collections, and libraries in the area you are researching. Some local archives, while small, can offer alternate resources or other goodies that may not be available elsewhere. And some archives, collections or libraries will check their holdings for you for a small fee or donation. Be sure to include a self-addressed envelope and two (2) international reply coupons.

  7. Locate online resources. In our links area we offer the URL's of several free and for-fee databases. While most genealogy records are not yet online (and you should never just use online resources) utilize what you can find. Please keep in mind that most online databases offer only a transcript which is an interpretation of the original and not a 100% true copy of the record. If a scan is not offered, use the database transcript only as a pointer - NOT as proof.

  8. Network with other online genealogists. Find someone in Ontario who has research in your area and trade research that requires leg-work.

  9. Hire some help. Sometimes all you need is some professional help to guide you in the right direction, or get you past that brick wall. See our links area for a list of websites advertising researchers for hire.

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