September 28, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Free. Visitors welcome.
Debt, Drunk & Disorderly, Vagrancy, Prostitution, Theft, Assault, Insanity: Are You Sure Your Ancestors Were Never in Jail?
No one wants a criminal at the dinner table, but finding one in your family tree can add pizzazz to an otherwise boring list of names and dates! Did you know that 19th Century Ontario jails were also full of people who just couldn’t pay their debts? Or got caught in public drinking too much? Or got in one too many fights? Did you know that most people spent only a few days in jail? Or that Irish people were overrepresented? Or that women were most often incarcerated for “moral” offences? Or that jail records are one of the few types of 19th Century records that provide physical descriptions? This lecture will introduce you to wonder of jail records, and what they can tell you about your ancestors.
Janice Nickerson is a professional genealogist based in Toronto. Her expertise includes Upper Canadian history, criminal justice records, turning bare bones genealogies into shareable family stories, and using genealogy gifts and games to create a legacy. In addition to helping her private clients discover the richness of their ancestral heritage, Janice does heir searching for provincial Public Trustees, writes and lectures on a variety of genealogical topics. Her books, Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Researcher’s Guide (2010), and York’s Sacrifice: Militia Casualties of the War of 1812 (2012) were both published by the joint imprint of the Ontario Genealogical Society and Dundurn Press. Janice is a proud 8th-generation Canadian, with English, German, Irish, Welsh and Aboriginal ancestry.