Ontario Ancestors: School and Teacher Directories on Internet Archive

 I can\’t say enough good things about Internet Archive. For the genealogist on a budget, it is a great resource for finding sources that go beyond Census records and BMD\’s. The trick to using it though is patience. Because of the huge amount of material on there, you will have to try various search terms to find what you want.

The recent reopening of schools in Canada are in news headlines. I consider myself thankful that I don\’t have to make the hard decision on whether or not to send a child to school. So I decided this week to see what I could find on Internet Archive relating to schools. As always, I was able to find an interesting resource. If your Ontario ancestor was involved in education, then you\’ll want to look at Internet Archive\’s selection of School and Teacher Directories.

Similar to City and County Directories, these publications were put out by the Ontario Department of Education. Internet Archive by no means has a complete collection, but they range from as early as 1911 and as late as the 1950\’s. What a gold mine of information these can contain on your ancestor! Take a look at this page for principals and assistants for Lindsay, Ontario in 1931

Just look at the information for Edith F Gerrish

  • Graduated with a B.A. from McMaster University
  • Specialized in Classics
  • Elementary/Intermediate certificate in Physical Culture
  • Appointed in 1930
  • 1 year of teaching Experience in a High School or Collegiate Institute
  • Her annual salary was $2100
There is no standard formula for each year, so not all years contain so much information on an individual. As well, it would be good to look at the first few pages to understand any abbreviations used. If you take a look at 1918, they use these abbreviations

So then if we look at some Hamilton, Ontario schools, you can see what level of teaching certificate they have and their salary

You can also find general information on School Districts, as well as the District Secretary\’s names. Here is a page from 1949 showing Attendance, Assessment, and Secretary\’s name. As you can see, a few schools weren\’t opened as of yet on the list.

These publications, depending on the year, can give you a lot of information. But what they are best for is to provide a stepping stone to further research. Taking this information, you can then know which collections at the Archives of Ontario you need to consult. The Archives of Ontario doesn\’t have the same wealth of information online that some provincial archives do. However, they have some of the best finding aids around. By consulting their main finding aid Research Guide 216- Student and Teacher Records, you\’ll know where to look next to find more detailed records of your ancestor. This main finding aid contains links to more specific collections.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: