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House of Industry records revealed

In the chill of a Toronto winter in 1859, 31-year-old Catharine Allen had two young children, was heavily pregnant with her third, and had been deserted by her husband. Ann McClauliff, a 66-year-old widow, had survived by selling fruit from a basket in the summer but could no longer make a living in the cold weather. William Pellett, just 6 years old, had been picked up by the Police Magistrate because his parents had been sent to jail for a month. And 45-year-old Jane Cummings lived in a “horrid den” with her two young sons and her husband, disabled by an old leg injury that would not heal because of his “excessive intemperance”.

All four of these vulnerable Torontonians ended up seeking help from the House of Industry.

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017, Toronto Branch funded the digitization of a major portion of the House of Industry fonds at the City of Toronto Archives—a rich source of information on the individuals and families helped by the institution from the 1830s to the early 1900s. The digitized volumes include both printed books and handwritten manuscripts, and are available to view now through the Internet Archive.

A dedicated team of Branch volunteers has been busy creating verbatim transcriptions which will make the handwritten manuscripts fully searchable and, as a result, much more accessible to researchers. The first of these transcriptions, covering 1855–1859, is now complete and posted online.

Find out more about the fascinating and often heartbreaking stories of the House of Industry, how to explore them online, and how to help to transcribe more of them, on the Toronto Branch Projects blog.

Exterior of House of Industry building
A photo of the House of Industry in the 1880s (Toronto Public Library Baldwin Collection image S 1a-3239a)

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7:30 pm We all have a story to tell!
We all have a story to tell!
Jan 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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Speakers: Marian Press, Sheelagh Hysenaj, Carol Nichols and Diana Varma We all have a story to tell! This meeting will give you insight on how best to tell yours. Our presentation will take on a[...]
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7:30 pm York’s Underground Railroad
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Feb 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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23
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7:30 pm Records of Migration at the AO
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Mar 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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27
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7:30 pm Closing the Loop
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Apr 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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Jan
23
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4:00 pm Hands-On Early Ontario Land Records
Hands-On Early Ontario Land Records
Jan 23 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
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Course runs on three Thursdays: January 23, 30 and February 6, 2020. Registration is now open. Land records are a rich source of information about settlers in Ontario. This course deals with the earliest period,[...]
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13
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4:00 pm Hands-On Land Registry Records
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Feb 13 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
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Course runs on two Thursdays: February 13 and 20, 2020. Registration is required.  Sorry, this session is now fully booked. Click here to add your name to the waiting list. Once land was granted by[...]
Mar
25
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6:30 pm Genealogy Resources in TPL’s Cat...
Genealogy Resources in TPL’s Cat...
Mar 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
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WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2020 Co-sponsored by Toronto Public Library. The Toronto Reference Library contains many excellent genealogy resources. This hands-on class will demonstrate how to use the Toronto Public Library’s online catalog to find items[...]
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10:00 am TRL Genealogy Collection Tour
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TRL Genealogy Collection Tour @ Toronto Reference Library, 2nd Floor | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
TOUR OF THE GENEALOGY COLLECTION AT THE TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY Co-sponsored with the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Toronto Reference Library. Discover one of the largest genealogy collections in Canada. Explore the extensive[...]

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That Toronto Branch OGS has more than 600 members? That members get a discount on publications, and course and workshop registration fees?