Monday, March 31, 2008

Tweedsmuir Histories - a goldmine of information

Tweedsmuir Histories are a goldmine of information for genealogical and local history information for many localities in Ontario, Canada. What are Tweedsmuir Histories? Briefly, they are "village history books" in the form of scrapbooks produced by Women's Institutes in Ontario. On Saturday, Grey Roots launched the virtual exhibit of Tweedsmuir histories from Grey County. To date, 32 volumes have been digitized and are available for searching and reading by anyone with Internet access. Congratulations on completing this phase of the project. The Grey County Historical Society was one of the supporters of this project.

Tweedsmuir Histories are one source of information that has helped me in my own personal research, research for a client and as part of my research for Churches of Grey Presbytery of the United Church of Canada: Historical Highlights.

When I was beginning my early research into my ancestors in Markham Township, Ontario, I visited the Unionville Public Library and viewed the actual Tweedsmuir histories for the Unionville Institute. These have been digitized and are now available in the Markham Public Libraries as part of Lunauweb. They were very helpful in giving me an introduction to the family.

Several years ago, I had a client send me a photograph of a family grouping taken in Port Elgin, Ontario. He only knew the names of some of the people in the photograph. Would you believe that the same photograph was in the West Arran Women’s Institute. Tweedsmuir History. volume 1. It had the names that the client was missing. There is a photocopy of this Tweedsmuir History at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library.

The Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library has some of the area Tweedsmuir histories on microfilm and the original copy of the Salem (Derby Township) Women's Institute.

When I was researching the church history book, I used the Federated Women's Institute of Ontario. St. Vincent. Tweedsmuir History; microfilm that included church history from St. Vincent Township. Of particular interest was the letter from Arthur G. Reynolds, archivist of the United Church of Canada to Jeanette Short concerning Bethesda Church, November 12, 1964. At Grey Roots, I used the Priceville Tweedsmuir History as a source when researching the Priceville churches.

At the Archives of Ontario, I found the Tweedsmuir histories that have been microfilmed for Manitoulin Island. Big Lake Institute (MS 8 Reel 13) to be very helpful in my research of that area. Almost every page had information that related to my families. The photographs unfortunately did not print out well. I would love to see the originals and to get copies of the family related photographs. One of the photos was of taken of the people who attended the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. James [Ernest] Johnston [Zella Beatrice Johnston]. Note: The Tweedsmuir History microfilms are not available for interlibrary loan from the Archives of Ontario. You may find them at libraries.

For information on the Women's Institutes check the Federation of Women's Institutes of Ontario web site. Wellington Ontario Tweedsmuir histories are available for searching and viewing. Elgin County Tweedsmuir Histories are available for browsing. King Township Tweedsmuir histories are available for browsing but a table of contents aids in the search. This is not an exhaustive list of those that have been digitized. Some are searchable while others can only be browsed.

Have you used the Tweedsmuir Histories? Have you made any discoveries? If you have any that you recommend please share it with the readers.

1 comment:

  1. Several years ago while researching the history of my local elementary school on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, I discovered that at least some of the Tweedsmuir W. I. scrapbooks were held in the archives of a local museum. I don't believe that their storage location is widely known. In the interest of spreading the word, here are the particulars:

    Anderdon Township W. I. Tweedsmuir Scrapbooks
    Location: Park House Museum, Amherstburg ON
    Park House website:

    Anderdon Township was one of three communities amalgamated into the Town of Amherstburg (Essex County), Ontario.


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