Thursday, January 29, 2009

Online Obituary Database - U of Toronto

Charmaine Lindsay — Supervisor, Reference & Outreach of the City of Toronto Archives — has sent me a notice that the Canadian Necrology Database Index at the University of Toronto Library is now online.

The majority of records in the Canadian Necrology database index obituaries for distinguished Canadians whose death notices appeared in newspapers such as the Globe and Mail, Toronto Daily Star, Gazette, and Mail and Empire between 1934 and 1977.

There are 20,000 such records.

The second set of records in Canadian Necrology contains death information for over 4,000 early inhabitants of Toronto and the surrounding areas, between 1853 and 1920. This collection is the result of a lifetime hobby of William Henry Pearson (1831-1920).

Beginning in 1853 and until his own death in 1920, Pearson maintained a ledger where he recorded the deaths of friends, acquaintances, and prominent members of Toronto society.

The site gives a short, yet very good history of the two men who put together the two record databases - William Henry Pearson and William Stewart Wallace — and how the obituaries were used to compile the database.

The database gives the name of the person, his/her sex, the age at death, the cause of death, the occupation, and the residence.

It also will tell you which record group the person was found and the record ID.

A bibliography of sources is included, as well as a related links page.

They have included a page of "Diversions" at the end of the website in which you are asked to identify the person in the photo because they have as yet been identified.

The informaiton can be found at