08 July 2012

Off Line Records

I read recently that 10 billion records have been added to Ancestry in the past 15 years.. That’s great! But how much does it actually represent? What percentage of genealogical records are on line? There has been a big push lately, so we might have about 10% of the records on line. That’s just my guess and I could be on the high side.
Where are the rest of the records? They are on shelves in places like Library and Archives Canada (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/index-e.html), the Ottawa Public Library (http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/interest/learn/genealogy) and the City of Ottawa Archives (http://ottawa.ca/en/rec_culture/museum_heritage/archives/). How many records are held on these shelves? I cannot begin to guess.

But I can estimate what is held by Ottawa Branch in the City of Ottawa Archives. We have been indexing the names in our holdings for the OGS project called The Ontario Name Index. So far we have added about 60,000 names to that index (http://www.ogs.on.ca/integrated/toni_database1.php). That consists of 6 scrapbooks and 15 family histories. So far, they have averaged about 1500 names per book. Since the library holds 30 scrapbooks and over 700 family histories, that comes out to about 1.1 million names when we are done. And that does not include the other collections of history and reference books. The City Archives also holds the city directories from the late 1800s and the entire run of the Ottawa Journal. How many names will be there.

All these sources are not yet indexed, so it’s not as easy as logging on to Ancestry. But it also does not cost a cent. The City Archives is open to the public 9am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays between Labour Day and Victoria Day. And there are volunteers on hand to help you. Fellow genealogists who share your love for the hobby and many have some personal knowledge of the area and other researching their families.

And I have not mentioned the other resources in the City Archives. In addition to the City’s collection, the facility houses the libraries of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), the Sir Guy Carleton Branch of the United Empire Loyalists, the local United Church Archives and the C. Robert Craig Memorial (“Railway”) Library.

If you are researching a family from the Ottawa area, drop by the City of Ottawa Archives at 100 Tallwood Drive. Everything is NOT on-line.

And if you would like to help, drop me a line at pastchair@ogsottawa.on.ca

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Mike. The collections at the City of Ottawa Archives are a greatly under-used resource, as are the genealogical volunteers who are on duty daily to assist with research.