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Initiative Begins to Digitally Preserve Ontario’s Historical Vernon Directories

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are working with FamilySearch International to digitize the historical Vernon directories for the province of Ontario. The initiative will begin immediately to preserve and make the directories freely searchable online for family historians, researchers, and Canadians.

Vernon directories were published yearly, by city, from the 1890s to 2014, except 2010, when the company’s ownership changed. They cover most of Ontario, including the province’s capital city of Toronto. The name “Vernon directories” is derived from the name of the publisher. The initiative will  encompass an estimated 1,875 directories.

OGS approached Vernon to request rights to digitize the historical publications. The publisher granted non-commercial permission to digitize the directories. The nonprofit organization FamilySearch quickly emerged as a logical partner, namely due to its optical character recognition scanning technology that will make every word searchable. As well, OGS approached LAC for the project, as LAC holds one of the biggest collections of Vernon directories in Ontario. In addition to providing access to its collection, LAC will be hosting the digitization project.

According to Steve Fulton, UE, president of the Ontario Genealogical Society, the directories are a rich resource for researchers, because “they list the names of local residents, their spouses, addresses, and sometimes even an individual’s title or position held at work.” Fulton explained that the directories were personally helpful to him in trying to determine when his grandfather passed away. “Through the directories, I determined he died between 1956 and 1957. I was then able to turn to newspaper obituaries for the area at that time to find him.”

This project will allow OGS and LAC to offer a very complete collection of directories for Ontario. The intent is also to reach out to local libraries for any missing directories that might be found in their collections.

About Library and Archives Canada

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social, and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation, and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. Follow Library and Archives Canada on Twitter (@LibraryArchives), Facebook, Flickr and YouTube

Library and Archives Canada

Richard Provencher

Head, Media Relations




Ontario Genealogical Society

Heather McTavish Taylor (PR Contact)

Director at Large


1-855-697-6687 ext: 258

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Comments 1 - 2 (2)
Thank you for your message.
Margaret Zakos
I’m looking for information about The Rainbow Grill in Belleville in the 1940’s. Location mainly. Or Rainbow Ice Cream.
Susan Harding-Cruz

I was so encouraged to learn that the Vernon directories are being digitized! They were such great resources it is important to save them.

I do have a clarification about 2010. Your February 18, 2019 post makes mention that no Vernon directories were published in 2010, however I have a hard copy of the 2010 City of Hamilton directory and its companion 2010 Surrounding Areas Directory (Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, etc), both with 'Vernon's directory' on the cover and spine. Perhaps Vernon's were able to publish some municipalities in 2010 before the ownership change occurred?

If you wish to see them, or borrow them to be digitized, I'd be happy to make arrangements.

I also discovered through other online searching that the Hamilton Public Library is involved with digitizing their copies and that the site, Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/hamiltonpubliclibrary-localhistory?sort=-publicdate has now digitized their copies from 1853 to 1969. I look forward to viewing others as they are added.

As to the 2010 directories, I acquired them through my workplace when I saved them from going into the garbage. Our offices were relocating in 2014 and major purging was occurring. I'm glad I decided to save them.

If you are interested, please contact me by email at shardingcruz@gmail.com