The Whitby Archives Has Records to Help You Research Your House
Along with all the great resources at the Whitby Public Library, did you know the Central Library is also home to the Whitby Archives?
The Whitby Archives holds unpublished, historical records relating to Whitby, Brooklin, Ashburn, Myrtle, and Myrtle Station. It’s a great place to visit if you’re researching your family history, working on a school project or if you have an interest in local history.
One of the most common questions our Archivist is asked is how to research a house. Sometimes the answer is really easy. If you live in a historical home, there is a good chance research has already been undertaken by staff in the Archives or external clients. We might have a folder containing notices or newspaper articles pertaining to your home. If you’re really lucky and the house is considered significant to the Town of Whitby’s history or the house has been designated under theOntario Heritage Act, there will be an architectural and historical report available for consultation.
The majority of houses in Whitby, though, are not so lucky. For many residents, researching their house requires a bit more legwork. The Archives has resources like city directories, phone books, maps, and newspapers which can help determine previous homeowners and/or tenants. Researchers will also want to consult the Ontario County Land Abstract Index which is available on microfilm. These records will provide information about land ownership from the early 1800s until present day (although the Library’s copies only go to 1949). Finally, fire insurance plans provide information on additions, renovations, and building material.
If you’d like to learn more about researching your house, come to our workshop on April 6 at 7:00 pm at the Central Library. Register online for How to Research Your House or by contacting any branch.
We encourage those researching their house to make an appointment with the Archivist so we can best prepare for your visit. Visit our web page to see the Whitby Archives hours of operation.