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  • Writer's pictureColleen Murray

Ontario bound!

Exciting news, both personally and professionally! I am moving to Waterloo, Ontario in a few short weeks!


I am taking a hiatus from new projects while wrapping up current ones and focusing on selling the house and moving across the country.


This isn’t the first time I’ve lived in Ontario – we were in London from 2004 to 2008 – so the move itself should be pretty comfortable. And while I’ll be sad to leave Alberta, I’m excited about new opportunities to learn and research in Ontario.


While I’m not new to Ontario research – I’ve been doing both in-person and remote Ontario research for years, on my own family and for clients – it will become more of a daily focus for me. And in the past, where I would need to refer boots-on-the-ground Ontario research to someone local, I’m looking forward to doing more of it myself. I was fortunate to work on a large client-project last year which just happened to be focused on German immigrants to Waterloo. Great timing! Still, I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of my new home, and what genealogical resources will be available to me.

photo of first school house in Waterloo built 1820
First school house in Waterloo built 1820

My first point of action was to join the Waterloo branch of Ontario Ancestors (the Ontario Genealogical Society). They are a virtual branch, but still have some collections deposited at the Kitchener Public Library. I’m also happy to see that the Kitchener Public Library is a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. I’ll be living near the Waterloo Public Library, which has a local history room with city directories, clippings files and microfilmed newspapers – lots of resources to explore! I’ve also mapped out where the Kitchener FamilySearch Centre is located- luckily only a short drive away.

abraham Erb 1772-1830 pioneer plaque "Like many pioneers of this district the founder of Waterloo was a German Mennonite from Franklin County, Pennsylvania. In 1805 he purchased 900 acres of bush land on the site of this town. He settled here in 1806 and erected the first sawmill two years later. His gristmill, built in 1816, remained in continuous operation for 111 years and formed the nucleus and social centre of a thriving municipality. Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board"
Historic plaque regarding Waterloo's founder Abraham Erb

As for future Alberta-based projects, and Métis projects based in the prairies, I will still be able to continue this work. A lot of the resources I use on a daily basis have been digitized, and I plan to be back in Alberta multiple times a year, visiting my children and parents, so regular visits to archives and libraries will still be possible- albeit with some advanced planning. And I know some great researchers in Alberta who can help me out in a pinch! On the flip-side, I look forward to much easier and more regular access to the Archives of Ontario, since Toronto will only be a short drive away.

I expect to be back to full-time client work by mid-July, and look forward to hearing from you then regarding your genealogical projects.

View of Waterloo Park
Waterloo Park

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