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Toronto Research Tip: City directories

City directories are key sources for Toronto research. Most contain an alphabetical list of inhabitants, as well as an alphabetical street list identifying occupants at each address. By cross-checking both lists, you can find out where your ancestor lived at a particular date and with whom, and who else was in the neighbourhood. You may even discover what your ancestor did for a living and the name of his or her employer. Browse through the advertisements and other listings in the directories to really get a sense of the city at the time your ancestor called it home.

Bound hard-copy Toronto directories from 1833 to 2001 are available in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department reading room on the 2nd floor of the Toronto Reference Library. But you can also access most of these on-line from your home computer. Directories up to 1969 have now been digitized — some with funding from Toronto Branch — and can be accessed through the Toronto Public Library’s website. You’ll find more information as well as a handy chart with direct links to all the digital versions on our City Directories page.

Canadian Cleaning Co advertisement

Advertisement in Might’s Toronto City Directory, 1949. Toronto Public Library; digitized by the Internet Archive.

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Toronto Branch Meetings

Jan
28
Mon
7:30 pm The Spanish Flu
The Spanish Flu
Jan 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Spanish Flu @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
THE SPANISH FLU, TORONTO’S – CANADA’S FORGOTTEN PANDEMIC Speaker: Mike Clare The story of the Spanish Flu epidemic in Canada and Toronto is a forgotten one. Why? It has been called the most documented epidemic[...]
Feb
25
Mon
7:30 pm Toronto’s Early Police Detectives
Toronto’s Early Police Detectives
Feb 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Speaker: Ellen Maki Visiting the haunts of felons and searching pawn shops for stolen goods were some of the duties of Toronto’s Victorian police detectives. Who were the policemen who became detectives, and was their[...]

Courses starting & Workshops

Jan
15
Tue
6:15 pm Using Digital Newspapers for Gen...
Using Digital Newspapers for Gen...
Jan 15 @ 6:15 pm – 8:15 pm
Using Digital Newspapers for Genealogy Research @ Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1 | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
A THREE-WEEK COURSE ON TUESDAYS January 15, 22 and 29 Co-sponsored with the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Toronto Reference Library. Advanced registration is required.  Newspapers have always been a major, although under-used,[...]
Feb
5
Tue
5:00 pm Hands-on Records of Inheritance
Hands-on Records of Inheritance
Feb 5 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Hands-on Records of Inheritance @ Archives of Ontario | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
This course is jointly sponsored by the Archives of Ontario and Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society. The course will be on three Tuesdays: February 5, 12, & 19, 2019 Registration is required. Finding your Ontario[...]
Mar
7
Thu
4:00 pm Hands-On Early Ontario Land Records
Hands-On Early Ontario Land Records
Mar 7 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Hands-On Early Ontario Land Records @ Archives of Ontario | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Course runs on three Thursdays: March 7, 14 and 21, 2019. Registration is required. Land records are a rich source of information about settlers in Ontario. This course deals with the earliest period, when land[...]

Did you know?

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