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Archives Awareness A-Z

Archives Awareness A-Z


We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in its #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four posts throughout this month showcasing items from our holdings or providing information about Archives terminology based on each letter of the alphabet.

This week we will finish the alphabet! We hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about your Diocesan Archives.


T – Travelling Missionaries

From the early days of the Anglican Church in Canada, travelling missionaries allowed for people to worship together where there were not yet churches built. They also performed marriages, baptisms and burials along the routes that they travelled. Their early registers often remain with a congregation that was established as a result of their work in a particular area. For instance in 1819 Rev. William Macaulay, a former pupil of John Strachan’s, received priest’s orders from Bishop Jacob Mountain at Quebec in October 1819 and was appointed to Cobourg. The early registers for St. Peter, Cobourg, which begin in 1819, include people with residences in the townships or towns of Hamilton, Hope, Clarke, Darlington, Haldimand, Fenelon, Emily, Seymour, Percy, Asphodel, Colborne and Belleville. While some would have travelled to Cobourg, still many would have been visited by the minister travelling around on horseback in these early days.


U – U-Matic Tape

U-Matic was made available in 1971 and was among the first video formats to contain the videotape inside a cassette, compared to the reel-to-reel or open-reel formats that were common at that time. The Diocese holds several U-Matic tapes including the consecration of Bishop Brown, Bishop Tonks & Bishop Hunt on January 27, 1981. Unfortunately, we do not have the equipment necessary to view these items, and as time passes, they may no longer be accessible. It is hoped we can find the means to look to get these digitized for long term preservation and accessibility.


V – Vellum

Vellum is a type of early paper made out of stretched calf skin. We have a couple of items in our Archives made out of vellum, including an early baptism register from St. George-the-Martyr (now St. George by the Grange). This is an interesting register as it is an effort to compile baptisms that occurred at the church between 1855 and 1861, when the original register was lost in a fire at the home of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Lett in 1862.


W – Women’s Auxiliary

The Women’s Auxiliary was the original name of the Anglican Church Women and we hold a large number of records related to the early years of the Diocese of Toronto Women’s Auxiliary from 1887 until 1966 when their constitution was amended and the Woman’s Auxiliary became the Anglican Church Women (ACW). These records consist primarily of meeting minutes and correspondence, but also include records of the Dorcas and supply department regarding bales supplied to missionaries. Included in the Archives is a sample of what a bale looked like on the outside and the large needles and skewers used to secure the bale for mailing.


X – is for their mark

In the 1800’s and even early 1900s many individuals were illiterate. When a signature was needed for a deed or in many cases a marriage record, either as the bride, groom or witness, those who couldn’t write their name would take the pen and mark an X, also known as their “mark.” There are a number of such signatures in the marriage registers held at the Archives.


Y – Young People

The Archives holds records related to Diocesan Youth Programs from 1910 to 1972. These include records related to the Anglican Young People’s Association and Camp Couchiching. There are a number of photographs including one of the 5th Annual Diocesan A.Y.P.A Conference held in 1952 at St. John the Evangelist, Peterborough. The participants included individuals from St. Michael & All Angels who are displaying their A.Y.P.A banner.


Z – Zero

In some cases we have no records for a particular person or group, or we are missing records due to them having been lost to fire, flood or being misplaced along the way. Records may have been lost or destroyed because an individual did not realise the value of records they had in their possession. The Archives hopes that some of these records that have been misplaced will eventually make their way to us.