When you think of great research places, a place like the Lindsay Branch of the City of Kawartha Lakes Public Library system would not immediately come to mind. With a population of just over 20,000, Lindsay is part of the amalgamated City of Kawartha Lakes (formerly Victoria County). It has a unique combination of both small city and small town feel. The library building itself is a historic building, built in 1902. An addition was added in 1977. The reference section is located on the second floor. You can see a history timeline of the library here.
What I love the most about the Lindsay Library is they love genealogy and genealogists. A large section of the reference section's shelves are devoted to genealogy and history. Because it is the reference section, these items are not available to take home. But trust me, you can easily spend a happy few hours here and not even realize it. Take a look at a few of what they offer in the way of books:
- Donald A. McKenzie's book series of notices from the Christian Guardian and the Canada Christian Advocate. They also have his collection of Notices from Methodists Papers
- Books on local history and provincial history
- Many different books of passenger lists from the 1800's
- Books on Genealogy Methodology
- Many Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) publications
- William Reids books "Death Notices of Ontario", "Loyalists in Ontario", Marriage Notices of Ontario"
- Linda and Gary Coupe's books on the early Assize Court records and Heir and Devisee Commission records
- Multiple volumes of The Ontario Register
- Family histories of several surnames. Some of the names I saw were Tripp, Quibell, Lamb and Logan.
- The series of Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers
The Lindsay Library participates in inter library loan. I have used them in the past to obtain reels from both the Archives of Ontario and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. They have a microfilm section onsite as well. There are two microfilm readers there that you can print from. A third reader that is USB capable is in the works. On microfilm you can find the following:
- Victoria/Watchman Warder (newspaper) 1976-1933
- Canada/Evening/Lindsay Post (newspaper)1861-1933
- Lindsay Daily Post (newspaper)1933-1997
- Lindsay Post (newspaper)1998-2013
- Fenelon Gazette (newspaper)
- Beaverton Express (newspaper)
- Peterborough Examiner/Dispatch/Review (newspaper)
- Ontario Civil Registration Indexes
- Peter Robinson Settlers Returns and Land Grants
- Census Records
There is a huge section of binders. Some of these compiled collections are transcriptions only, while some have photocopied images as well. There are Lindsay city directories, business directories for Victoria County, and cemetery transcriptions from around the province. There are transcriptions of local newspapers, census records, and voter's lists for Victoria County. Here's some of the more unique items I found within the binders:
- A transcription of the index for the Peterborough County and Lindsay area inquests covering years from the 1840's to the 1930's
- Land record collections for Ops Township and for the Peter Robinson Settlers
- The Surrogate Court Index for Peterborough and Victoria Counties
- Transcriptions of Marriage Registrations for various parts of Ontario from 1792-1900
- The Mariposa Census of 1839
- McCarty Jewellers Marriage License Records, Lindsay Sept 1905-1921
- Pioneer Businesses and Proprietors. This is a collection of photos and clippings relating to some of the first businesses and business owners in the local area
They also have a huge collection of genealogy newsletters from branches of the OGS, the Haliburton Highlands Genealogy Group, Trent Valley Archives, and the Kawartha Ancestral Research Group.
The library has several computers that you can use on site with a library card. Using these you can access Ancestry Library Edition, Gale Genealogy Connect, and Find My Past. You can also access Toronto Star's Pages of the Past and the Globe and Mail Canada's Heritage. It's best to call a reserve a computer, as these are a very popular feature of the library. Wifi connection if you want to bring your laptop is free. If you are not a Kawartha Lakes resident, you can get a guest pass.
One really unique thing I found at the library was actually on the walls. They are three maps. One is a plan of the Town of Lindsay itself from 1860:
There are two land owner maps as well, dated 1916. One is for Ops Township, and the other is for Fenelon Township. If you had land owning ancestors in either of these two townships in 1916, you can see their name on these maps:
The City of Kawartha Lakes Library system has a website. You can access their section on genealogy and local history here. On the site are digitized Vernon's City Directories, some newspapers, and a collection of photographs and clippings. In fact, through the section of the website here, you can access many historical and genealogical resources from the comfort of your own home, as long as you have a valid library card. Ancestry and Find My Past are only available at the library itself, but you can access Gale, the Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail from home.
Through their website you can also look at their complete holdings. The page to access their catalogue is here.
Can't make the trip to Lindsay? Well staff will do research for you! The first half hour of research is free, and $40.00 per hour after that. The research request form is here. Don't worry about any expensive surprises though. If the staff feels the research will take longer than the free half hour, they will contact you and you can discuss details before they proceed.
The Library hours are 10 am - 8 pm Monday to Thursday, 10am - 5pm Friday and Saturday. They are open 1pm - 4 pm on Sundays, but only from mid October to mid May. Their contact information is:
P.O. Box 9000
Phone: 705-324-9411 ext. 1291 or 1-888-822-2225 ext.1291