Tag Archives: Hastings County

Ontario Wanderings: Tweed & The Heritage Center

On my last trip to Hastings County in 2012, I had been told that the Tweed Historical Society’s director was very knowledgeable about the families in Hastings County.  I decided to put it on my list to visit. After I visited St. Thomas Anglican Church and Cemetery and took my Bay of Quinte picture I headed up Hwy 62 which seemed like forever.  The Crookston Road finally came up (Hwy 38) and I went further east.

Tweed is by Stoco Lake in Hastings County.  There Heritage Center is right there on the main street in the southern part of the town and not too hard to find.  They were having a sale out on the lawn.

Tweed Heritage Center

Tweed Heritage Center

I entered the building and was not prepared for the multitude of items held in this archive.  The building was packed and it was also a labyrinthe of rooms filled with more artifacts.

http://www.tweedhistorical.com/   Apparently their website is down or gone.  I hope that does not mean they have closed up.  Sept. 11, 2016.

Evan Morton is the Treasurer and Curator and he was the one that responded to my email.  He was very busy talking to his volunteers but he said hello and immediately responded with showing me a binder with the surname of Brown.  He had some cards in a file box and other items that looked like references to various sources.  He spent some time digging but the Brown families he had were of the Tweed area, mine where mostly in Rawdon.

Morton Archives

Morton Archives

He took me back to the Morton Archives room which is really two large rooms.  I gave him one of my Boardman and Brown Booklets and we discussed my Brown family.  They were able to get me an obituary notice for a Margaret J. Vance who married a John Wood.  She is a daughter of Mary Johnson Brown who remarried to Thomas Vance.  So my family connected to the Tweed area because she is buried in the White Lake Cemetery above Centre Hastings on Hwy 62.

Only one of may stacks of one room

Only one of many stacks of one room

My visit was far too short but it was friendly and fun.  I am sure there are many many treasures in this archive and artifacts to explore.  I highly recommend that you stop by and explore.  I had to push on to Kingston.


Ontario Wanderings: Stirling Cemetery a return visit…

About  June 19, 2012 I visited the Stirling Cemetery in Stirling, Hastings County, Ontario and took some photos and walked this cemetery.  I wrote about it at this link.


On September 17, 2014 I once again visited this cemetery in Stirling. Before I went walking in this cemetery I knew I needed to get some food.  The Odd Cup in Marmora I couldn’t find but maybe I didn’t go far enough?  Anyway I ended up at the Mad Dog in Stirling near Hwy 33.  I don’t remember it being there before.

Stirling has a nice library and a genealogical historical society area of that library.

Stirling Public Library

Stirling Public Library

Downtown Stirling

Downtown Stirling

Once back at the cemetery, I started by trying to use the maps that had been copied into the cemetery book that I referenced in the above post in 2012.

Looking north of Stirling

Looking north of Stirling sorry it is dark

The book is set up with a listing of the buried by section.  Each person has a number counting from 1 to 300 or so burials.  The names and numbers of each individual do not correspond to the maps.  So instead of reading this row by row across the cemetery it is done by section.  The information as to where the count is started and ends is brief and unhelpful.

The circular section A no longer exists because the road is no longer there.  I tried to find the Browns buried there and in order to do this I made a spreadsheet with names etc.  I used the maps as a guide and simply walked the cemetery till I found them. It is a hard business to do that so it was good I had lunch. Be advised that there is not direction on the maps in this cemetery book.  You have to turn the taking the right side of the map and turning it up and this might help get hem so that they are oriented correctly.

Much to my happiness I did find all my Brown tombstones except for about two and I am okay with that.  I found Philip Brown’s stone.  He is my great grand-uncle.  Unfortunately I could not find his wife Margaret’s inscription or stone.  There is room on the large stone that is Brown and maybe if I can get it done without too much cost I can get her and him a name plaque to be added.  Something like in memory of the Brown family who came…..cool!

Me with Phillip Brown's and others tombstone

Me with Phillip Brown’s and others tombstone

When I return to my home I will share more details of this cemetery.  I wish I had time to photograph it in total so I could add it all to Find A Grave but it was hard enough to find the stones that I was looking for.

The most important part of this is I now know who these people are in the family tree for the Browns and I plan to do more in-depth posting on the lineages down from the four brothers George, Thomas, Phillip and Henry who I believe I have completed see my post dated August 29, 2014.

Ontario Wanderings: The Ontario Genealogical Society and North York Library (Updates)

The next day Tuesday September 16th I was going to the Ontario Genealogical Society holdings at the North York Branch of the Toronto Library system.

UPDATE: As of May 2, 2016 the holdings of the Ontario Genealogical Society are being moved to the Toronto Library branch.  They will not be accessible till summer 2016.  They have also moved their offices to buildings near the York University, so check their website for information 4/17/2016.

This was my experience in 2014. It has all changed now – I needed a Staples to print out more of my booklets, this time the McDonald booklet based on my blog The Man Who Lived Airplanes.

Heading east on Steeles I kept an eye out and spotted one just after Keele and before Tandem.  It was on the left side but at least Tandem had a light. It took me a good hour to print off six copies.  I can’t make them before because they take up too much room and are heavy.

Once I was done with my task I headed out and lo and behold I spotted at least two more Staples on my way to Yonge Street. There was even one just across the street from the North York Library. Why is that, you can’t find what you are looking for and then once you do you see it everywhere.

It was not to hard to find Park Home Avenue and turned right off of Yonge. They have a parking garage. Just as I entered this car was right on my tail.  I had trouble at the ticket machine….yeah again and didn’t get a ticket. Something about pushing the button.  I was now worried I would get another ticket on the rental car and I didn’t want that.

It turns out that it read my Visa and all I had to do was put it into the machine at the exit and it would charge it.  There was even a lost ticket box.  The funny thing was no one in the North York Library the receptionist nor the Security guard had any idea about the Parking garage and how it worked.  Another thing is that they may have a security speaker box on the parking floor and if you find that push the button and ask your questions.  I did that and it really helped.

The North York Library is on the main floor of the city center area.  The Novotel Hotel is also part of this shopping center. I had thought of staying there but it is not cheap.  The library is in the northeast corner.

North York Library

North York Library

To find the elevators to the 6th floor where the Canadiana Room is located this is what you do.  You go into the doors from the shopping area and walk down till you get across from the main doors, go to your left and inside the library and then turn to your right and you will find the elevators.  Do not go down the hall to the single elevator it will not let you up to the top floors.  The receptionist at the initial desk when you enter knew nothing.

The Reference desk area

The Reference desk area


Microfilm of Newspapers

Microfilm of Newspapers

Looking down at the library

Looking down at the library

The Canadiana Room is on the 6th floor and it is divided by the stairs with tables and computers on one side and the reference desk.  On the other side is the microfilm and readers.  There are some stacks but not everything and you may have to order from their closed stacks.

I was interested in Renfrew County, Horton Twp. cemetery records and Hastings County Cemetery records.  The reference librarian filled out some order forms for me and went to retrieve them.  I went over to their stacks (book shelves) and did some investigating.

It was about 10 minutes later and he returned with my order.  I spent the time studying the contents of the files.  I was not finding what I wanted in the Horton Twp files but then I wasn’t expecting it the dates I want are for people whose tombstones are probably long gone.

I wanted to take a look at the Stirling Cemetery Book and again I got irritated with the maps not matching the contents and just do not understand the format of this book.  I decided I would figure it out when I returned to that cemetery in Hastings County the next day.

My worry about my car and a ticket propelled me to leave probably earlier than I really wanted to.  If I had been able to figure out about the parking situation earlier I would have been able to stay longer.

I was a little disappointed that there were no volunteer OGS – Ontario Genealogical Society) members there and wonder if they even have them cover at the library?

The area for the Canadiana Room is very small and I had been looking forward to wandering a large amount of stacks.  It didn’t happen.  I am a member of OGS and plan to continue being a member.

In many ways I ran out of time planning this trip and in some ways the visit the to the Archives of Ontario and the North York Library reflect that lack of really digging in.  I did leave both a Boardman and Brown and The Man Who Lived Airplanes at the North York Library.  The Archives is no longer accepting family histories.

Once I was back on Yonge Street I just headed to Steeles and then headed to the Super 8.  It was too complicated to try to find a nice restaurant to have a nice dinner.

Yonge Street in Toronto

Yonge Street in Toronto


Looking back at Toronto

Looking back at Toronto

When I returned to the Super 8 I decide to try one of the three restaurants and chose the Japanese and was pleasantly surprised.  I got the special a shrimp stir fry on rice and it was good. It was a little early so I stopped at the McDonald’s for a hamburger for later.  I had a microwave so I could warm it.

I was done with Toronto and was looking forward to heading east to familiar territory and where I had been on my last trip in 2012.

Before I leave Toronto I do want to state that it has a lot of other archives to explore.

1.  The main Reference Library in the downtown area.  http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/  This goes to the genealogical area of their website:  http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/history-genealogy/

2.  They also have the Anglican Diocese of Toronto  http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/ or go to the archives page:  http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/about-the-diocese/departments/archives/

I emailed to them what I was looking for and they suggested the St. John’s Anglican records held at Trent University in Peterborough were the oldest they had in the Peterborough County area.  I was looking for a baptism for my great grandparent Richard Brown because he was not showing up in Hastings County.

3.  The UEL or United Empire Loyalist Association is located in Toronto. http://www.uelac.org/

The next two depend on where and whom you are researching.

4.  The York Region Branch of the OGS  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onyrbogs/

5. The Toronto Branch of the OGS – http://torontofamilyhistory.org/

I am sure there are more and one could spend a lot of time exploring.

Exploring Ontario: Lanark County to Hastings County

I arrived in Ontario on Sunday May 20, 2012.  The plane set down at the Ottawa airport.  I  have been touring around Renfrew County, Ontario and Pontiac County, Quebec. Once I completed that part of the trip I headed back to Ottawa to take advantage of the archives and repositories in that city.  I visited the Libraries and Archives of Canada one of the days, and the Ottawa Public Library.  You can read about that part of the tour at the blog: The Man Who Lived Airplanes:  http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/  I was exploring my father’s McDonald roots, something I had wanted to do for a very long time.

Another one of my goals was to get to Kingston for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  So from Ottawa I decided to go west to Lanark County and take a look at the Scottish people who settled there.  I stopped in Smith Falls and visited the Lanark County Genealogical Society which is housed in the basement of the Historical Museum.  I share about that visit in The Man Who Lived Airplanes blog (See the link above or to the right in the side bar).

Smith Falls is right on the Rideau Canal and I booked into the Comfort Inn.  My view from my lanai was wonderful.  The Rideau was right out my door.  They did have a bit of a downpour and thunderstorm when I was there but it cleared up enough for me to enjoy the canal.

The Rideau Canal, Smith Falls

Much to my surprise I had a lovely dinner overlooking the Rideau Canal in the restaurant right next door to the Comfort Inn called Chuckles Jack.  The name is a bit silly but the view and the food was great and was actually the best meal I had in all of Ontario during my whole trip.  http://www.chucklesjack.com/

The next morning I was on my way early.  Perth was not to far away and right close to Hwy 7.  I had been concerned about this highway but found it to be smooth, little traffic except for trucks, and odd drivers who did not get out-of-the-way, great scenery and gentle curves.  The highway is two lanes.  I did have the feeling I was climbing.  In some places the hills were evident.  I would say it reminded me of Minnesota and more like the foothills back home.

As I left Perth I switched over to the Brown family research.  As you may know, if you have read this blog, the Brown family is the family of my grandmother Ethel Adella Brown my mother’s mother.  I have shared photos and information about her life on this blog in the past and her marriage to Robert Boardman my grandfather.

Ethel’s great-grandfather William Brown came from Ireland.  As far as we know he and Elsie had 11 children.  Currently my cousin has found 4 sons and maybe a daughter living in Ontario and settling in Hastings County sometime in the 1830’s.  Some of the sons stayed in Hastings and are buried there while others moved on to Lambton County, Ontario, then Lapeer County, Michigan and others headed for Manitoba, like my great-grandfather Richard Brown.  I wanted to see if I couldn’t find out more about their time in Hastings County.  I also wanted to find out more about my 3rd great-grandfather William Brown.

The sun was shining so I had good weather for traveling.  Perth to Marmora would be about 2.5 hours depending on traffic and other factors.  My black Caliber was a trooper.

There are these low rock formations along the road that reminded me of mini versions of Utah’s monument valley, an occasional housing community but mostly trees and signs for various parks and resorts.

The Digital Atlas website has a great map of 1880 showing the counties in Ontario:  http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/countyatlas/searchmapframes.php  Frontenac is #31, Hastings in #28 and #30 is Lennox and Addington.  You can click on the map of that county and do more exploring.  This is useful for studying all areas of Ontario.

I entered the county of Frontenac, the Central Frontenac area, and drove through the middle of that county.  To the south was Kingston which is on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario where the St. Lawrence River begins.  I would be there in a few days for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  These counties along this area are long counties reaching north into the middle of the southern portion of Ontario.  Here is a great map with the townships named that helps to get oriented regarding Frontenac County.  Find Sharbot Lake and that is the road I was on Hwy 7:  http://www.frontenacmaps.ca/pdfs/Accommodations.pdf

I passed by Sharbot Lake https://www.ontarioparks.com/park/sharbotlake  Here is another article:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharbot_Lake  I could have turned south and headed for Kingston but I was determined to visit Hastings County first.

There were signs for Land O’Lakes with a very interesting travel booklet you can pull the corners and it opens like a booklet:   http://www.travellandolakes.com/  There are maps that cover the area I was traveling on Hwy 7.  Oh, no it is not the butter that company is out of St. Paul, Minnesota.  HA!

As I drove along I saw two baby bears and some blackness behind them and I assume it was their mother.  They were awful close to the highway.  This website has a map about the density of bears in Ontario and about living with bears:  http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Bearwise/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_167695.html

A vulture swooped down and landed on some green grass near the road near some carrion on the road.  I am not sure if it was a Turkey or Black, the head was not that red more white in color.  I was rather surprised to see it for I thought it was an eagle till it landed.

I saw a turtle in the middle of the road and I think it was dead. I did see turtle crossing signs and moose signs.

I arrived in Kaladar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaladar on Hwy 7 and it was not long after that I came to the sign for Hastings County.

Hastings County, Ontario

I was very excited.  There is always that disconnection when you study an area from afar and then when you are actually there it can be very different from what you expected.

There was a lake area to my left and right with cat tails and the remains of dead trees trucks.  It was swampy like and I actually saw a beaver lodge to my right.  This was something I have not seen since my childhood.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Beaver

The sign to Tweed came up and I was to learn that there is a Heritage Center there that was recommended to me to visit:   http://www.ruralroutes.com/1266.html  That will be a stop on my next trip and yes, I will be returning soon.

Madoc came and the sign indicated that I would have to turn south into this town to see it.  I had to push on to Marmora and the road curved around through a little more through a foothills area.  I stopped in Marmora to take a break and get some food:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmora,_Ontario  It is a lot bigger than I expected.

There was a little restaurant off the road just as I came into Marmora called the Odd Cup Cafe (now called Theresa’s).  It was great.  The nice lady was very kind and pleasant and took my order. It was simple comfort food.  The prices were reasonable.  I loved it.   This man kept coming in and going out to sit in the sun under the umbrella’s and talk to this lady.  I think it means that the coffee was good.  If I had more time this is a place where you dally and get to know the residents and ask them about the families that lived there, you would be surprised what you might learn.

Odd Cup Cafe, Marmora – A Great Find

From Marmora I headed south on Hwy 14 to Stirling.  I was in Marmora township and had a little more to go before I would actually be in Rawdon Township.

Here is a wonderful tourism website that combines Mamora, Tweed and Madoc in a group with the title “Comfort Country.” I am in heaven:  photographs, road trip guides.  I am planning to return, hopefully in September and this is exactly what I need to plan that visit.  http://www.comfortcountry.ca/