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Ancestry.ca Newsletter
December 2008 Edition

Welcome to Canada’s new monthly newsletter. We have an updated look and fresh, relevant content. This is your newsletter! We’d love to hear your ideas.

In this issue, learn about Charles Dickens & the Ontario Jail Mystery Woman and discover more about the Ancestry World Archives Project. We are pleased to announce the winners from Toronto’s Zoomer Show and offer a quick How-to for searching the records collections, a new spot called the Brag of the Month as well as Records Coming Soon.

Feature Story

Charles Dickens & the Ontario Jail Mystery Woman

Charles Dickens^1861 England Census record of Charles Dickens’
household on Ancestry.ca

There have been reports that writer of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), was in a Kingston, Ontario Penitentiary in 1842 as a visitor. In his writings he seems to be enthralled with one particular prisoner:

“…there was a beautiful girl of twenty, who had been there nearly three years. She acted as bearer of secret dispatches for the self-styled Patriots on Navy Island, during the Canadian Insurrection: sometimes dressing as a girl, and carrying them in her stays; sometimes attiring herself as a boy, and secreting them in the lining of her hat. In the latter character she always rode as a boy would, which was nothing to her, for she could govern any horse that any man could ride, and could drive four-in-hand with the best whip in those parts.


Setting forth on one of her patriotic missions, she appropriated to herself the first horse she could lay her hands on; and this offence had brought her where I saw her. She had quite a lovely face, though, as the reader may suppose from this sketch of her history, there was a lurking devil in her bright eye, which looked out pretty sharply from between her prison bars.”

Are you related to this intriguing, spirited woman? We want to find out who this spirited mystery woman is. If you know or if you’re related please let us know at feedback@ancestry.ca. We love great stories. Dicken’s also said that the, “… men were employed as shoemakers, ropemakers, blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters, and stonecutters; and in building a new prison, which was pretty far advanced towards completion.” Perhaps your family history has these professions in it? Where did they learn their skills?

Records Coming Soon

  • U.S. Land Ownership Atlases, 1864–1918
  • Wisconsin Mortality Schedules, 1850–1870
  • Brooklyn, New York, Catholic Church Baptism and Marriage Records, 1837–1900
  • Losinj, Croatia: Parish Records, abt. 1820–1890
  • Varese, Lombardia, Italy: Civil Registration Records, 1866–1937
How To...

Having trouble searching the collections? Don’t know what collections are available? Here’s the easy way to find them.

1. Click on the search tab
2. Scroll down past the search box to the bottom
3. Identify the category the collection is in
4. Hit the “see more” link to see all of the special files or collections

Search Now

Ancestry World
Archives Project

There’s always that one person we search for only to find their records were destroyed, missing or you have to spend serious travel time going to archives offices around the world to try and locate them.


Oh the horror! Wouldn’t it be nice if those records were just one easy click away?

The Ancestry World Archives Project gives you a unique chance to help save the world's historical records. Anyone can participate by accessing record images in our system and entering relevant names, dates and other facts to make the information searchable online. Current projects include the England and Wales, Criminal Registers.

These indexes will remain FREE and copies of the records and images are donated to partnering government archives and genealogy services.

» More Info

» See The Video

» Watch the Tutorial

Zoomer Show Toronto
It was great to meet many of our members at the recent Zoomer (CARP) show. This business is amazing – we shared laughs, tears and great memories as we helped users discover more about their families. Thanks for the memories.

Congrats to the winners of the Worldwide Deluxe Memberships: Toronto’s D. Hitchmough & M. Hammond from Bracebridge.
Happy searching!
Brag of The Month
Live and breathe family history? Well, we have an interested community that loves stories. Tell us! Send us your stories, photos and mysteries to feedback@ancestry.ca and you can be featured on our site, in the upcoming blog or in this newsletter. Make your own history today.

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