What resources are available to help me learn about my family’s history?
Family Research Guide
The library has collected a wide variety of sources to assist you with researching your family tree, including city and telephone directories for Guelph, newspapers, published family histories and school yearbooks.
Ancestry Library edition
Available in house at any library location, this genealogical and historical research tool gives researchers access to census records, vital statistics, church records, directories, passenger lists, immigration records, maps and more from Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.
The Guelph Public Library holds a collection of yearbooks from a number of Guelph Schools including Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute (1928-2009), John F. Ross Vocational Institute (1983-2005), Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute (1972-1976, 1992), College Heights Vocational Institute [between 1972 and 1987], and Central Senior Public School (1966-1967). These resources are available for viewing at the Archives of the Guelph Public Library.
The Guelph Public Library holds a large newspaper collection. Of particular interest for genealogists focusing on the Guelph area are the Guelph Mercury and Guelph Tribune. The Mercury, available on microfilm, is the oldest newspaper in our holdings dating back to the 1840’s and is often useful for birth, marriage, and obituary announcements. In addition, the library holds many original photographs taken by the Mercury dating between 1960 and 1998. Included are photographs of weddings, high school and university graduates, and much more. Many of these photographs are searchable from the library’s photo database.
Family history research is often aided by local history books that can be borrowed as you research your family’s Guelph roots. Some examples include A History of Guelph 1827-1927, Guelph: A People’s Heritage, 1827-2002. The local historical society produces a journal entitled Historical Guelph: The Royal City.
Assessment rolls may also provide useful clues to your family’s history such the property owner’s religion, age and/or occupation. The library holds a comprehensive set of assessment rolls covering the period 1852-1853, 1855-1899, 1901-1939, 1941-1963, and 1966-2005
Non-civil Vital Statistics
The non-civil vital statistics holdings consist of non-governmental records relating to births, marriages, and deaths in Guelph and Wellington County. The library is also a depository for records created or accumulated by the local branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS).
Included are plot records (transcriptions of office records associated with burials) and monumental inscriptions (transcriptions of words that appear on the gravestones in cemeteries) for Woodlawn Cemetery, as well as indexes and inscriptions for the Catholic cemeteries. There are also indexes and transcriptions for a number of other cemeteries in Wellington County.
The Library also holds an index to and transcriptions of burial records for the Tovell Funeral Home, which was located in Guelph.
Also available are births, deaths, marriage notices and transcriptions compiled from the Guelph Herald 1850-1851, and the Guelph Evening Mercury 1864-1879.
Civil vital statistics are official government records for births, deaths and marriages. The Library has a current index for the following years: Births (1869-1905), Marriages (1869-1920), and Deaths (1869-1930).