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Article posted: March 6, 1998

Catholic Marriages in Upper Canada (Ontario)
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles

Renie Rumpel of Waterloo told me once that she would never run out of things to index. The Archives of Ontario is full of documents waiting for someone turn on their laptop and start transcribing.

Rumpel had proved her point once again by publishing Roman Catholic Marriage Registers in Ontario, Canada, 1828-1870.

These early marriage records can be found in Record Group 80 in the Registrar General’s office materials. Even before the Anglican monopoly on marriages ended in the 1830s, Roman Catholic priests were allowed to marry in Upper Canada because their counterparts in Lower Canada (Quebec) could do so. In fact, Roman Catholic church records have always been the principal source of vital registrations there.

It could be that you have looked for an ancestor’s marriage during the 1858-1869 period, when clergy submitted forms recording weddings they had performed each December. When we were indexing the Waterloo marriages from this period, I noticed that there were few submissions from Roman Catholic priests. It appears their materials were kept in another place.

Researchers familiar with Rumpel’s previous Index of marriages in Ontario 1869-1872 will know that she goes back to the original source and copies everything available. She has done the same with these Roman Catholic marriages. The index includes names, ages, places of resident and birth, parents’ names, witnesses and, of course, the date. It is interesting to see that few of the entries contain all of these possible bits of information, so it is a matter of luck whether you find a great deal to go on or very little.

There are 6200 names, and Rumpel mentions in particular the counties of Ontario, York, Simcoe, Peel, Lincoln and Welland. She says that about one-third include the birthplace, age and parents’ names.

In addition, the book has a gazetteer of place-names, a map showing the counties of Ontario for quick reference and information on how to find the microfilms of these documents so that you can look at the original yourself. Renie Rumpel has a high reputation in indexing circles, but anyone’s index should be compared to the originals when doing genealogical research.

Even an index with very brief entries, as this one, offers a mystery or two as the reader leafs through. Why is Ellen Hevigan noted as "alias Grady"? There is bound to be a story. Rumpel provides a reference so that those who knew Ellen as Grady will not miss her in this index. I also see that at his second wedding Maurice Knash has his name spelled with a ‘K’. I wonder if most people knew him as Nash.

Roman Catholic Marriage Registers in Ontario, Canada 1828-1870 by Renie Rumpel is available for researchers to use at The Metro Toronto Reference Library, The Archives of Ontario and some larger reference libraries. You can get a personal copy from Global Genealogy & History Shoppe at or call 1 800 361-5168 9 AM to 6 PM ET, Monday to Saturday.

On Line Photo Develpment

A couple of years back, in my newspaper column, I wrote about a new technology which permitted you to obtain photographs on disk. This included both new pictures you were taking and old ones which could be placed on a computer disk. Then you could drop these into files for printing anytime you wished. It was also a step forward in photograph storage.

The same company which offered the software which made these pictures available cheaply has now progressed one step further. If you wish, you can send them a film and they will develop it and then provide you with the photographs on-line.

You have to supply them with your e-mail address. They send you a message with a code-word included. You then call up their website and the code-word enables you to unlock the file containing your photographs, and only yours. You then download the pictures directly into your hard-drive.

A great way to get you photographs reday to be incorporated into your genealogy software program. For more information including prices write to Seattle FilmWorks, Box 94598, Richmond BC V6Y 2V6, or telephone (206) 283-9074 Monday through Friday 6-6 Pacific Time.

German Phone Books

If you need a search made in current German telephone directories, a company offers to do it for you. Searches for unusual names are best. Cost is about $20.00 for the first 100 occurrences. Write for details to Computerdienst, Birkenweg 26A, D-22926 Ahrensburg, Germany or by e-mail

Books By Ryan Taylor

Across The Waters, Ontario Immigrants Experiences 1820 - 1850 - by Frances Hoffman & Ryan Taylor, 1999. Riveting first-hand accounts of the immigration and settlement experience, taken from the diaries and letters of 150 immigrants.

Routes To Roots, The Best of Ryan Taylor's columns from the Kitchener Waterloo Record, by Ryan Taylor 1997

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
(Pontiac County, Quebec)

The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)