Libraries and their Holdings


These are libraries in or near the locus of activities of Lakeshore Genealogical Society or relevant to researchers looking into the lives of people in our area. The combined list of holdings is on Genealogy & Local History List - Local Libraries

Table of Libraries and Search Links

The table of libraries below hyperlinks to each library three ways:

Libraries and Search Links

QuickList of Local Holdings

As a convenience for you, we have consolidated these broad search results in a single list, Genealogy & Local History List - Local Libraries, from those close to most members of LGS and, therefore, most convenient for our lookups.  Inspecting this list of holdings might yield an interesting discovery that would not come up in a search. 

Guidelines for Searching

Results from catalogue searches are highly influenced not only by the search terms but also by the keywords used by librarians to catalogue each item by subject. There can be much overlap between the results for "genealog*" and "local history"; e.g., a family history book for a local family would logically be in both. Some catalogues make little use of the category "local history", preferring the term "History" along with the name of the location. The search terms we used on the Northumberland libraries were of two classes, one for the larger libraries that use the SirsiDynix catalogue system and another for those that use a simpler system.


Both support the * wildcard so the one term covers the words "genealogy", "genealogical" and even the French equivalents.

Area/Local History

As complex as the advanced search term is, it does not suppress results that might be for towns or counties in another province or country. This is a minor issue for smaller libraries which will be innately restricted but a much larger one when searching within, say, the Toronto Public Library system. 

Toronto Public Library

There is no greater library system within a distance that can be accessed by a manageable commute from our locale, and a direct visit is a must for all but some 600 of its ~26,000 holdings under the subject "genealogy AND NOT fiction". Within those that may be borrowed, there may be something that is worth pursuing through the Inter-Library Loan system. 

TPL's catalogue system is different again, requiring a change in the search terms. It appears to have a limit on the number of Boolean operators (AND, OR), perhaps 9 maximum, thus preventing the use of a long search such as the Advanced Area/Local History search described above. Nor does it support the "*" wildcard.


To accomplish the equivalent of genealog* AND NOT fiction in the TPL system, you need to navigate from the default Search banner via Advanced Search to the Boolean Searchand enter the terms Subject:(genealogy AND NOT fiction). Note that there is no Subject field on the form; one specifies the fields to search within the one common input field, making sure that the field name is capitalised ("Subject:", not "subject:"). 

On the other hand, the Advanced Search itself can also be effectively used for a narrower search. For example, select the Subject field from the drop-down list and enter the terms genealogy northumberland ont to return some 50 results, including Marriage register of Joshua Webster : 1836-1874 and various census transcriptions. 

Area History

It does not seem possible to contrive a single search that encompasses all the locations that are included in the Advanced Search described above for SirsiDynix catalogues, given what appears to be a restriction to possibly as few as 9 Boolean operators in the search expression for Boolean searches. And more terms seem needed to suppress out of country matches. For example this expression returns some 400 results: Subject:(history AND NOT (England OR Britain) AND (Northumberland OR Durham OR Newcastle OR Cobourg OR Hope OR Brighton OR Campbellford)). Any more operators returns 0, not an error message, which it should. And the results include some from New Brunswick which also has a county Northumberland, and other out-of-county items.

If we could rely on all items that pertain to people and locations currently or once in Northumberland County to have subject keywords "Northumberland" and "Ont", then the Advanced Search expression history Northumberland Ont returns them all, about 60. (By the way, this is equivalent to the Boolean Search Subject:(history AND Northumberland AND Ont) but express Booleans in the Advanced Search are ignored or replaced by AND.) Unfortunately, such is not the case - many items have the municipality in the subject, but not the county. For example, Port Hope Old Boys Reunion souvenir containing a history and description of the town : 2500 names and addresses of Old Boys has subjects containing just "Port Hope (Ont.)--...". Therefore, one has to be imaginative about the various ways librarians may catalogue items when one is searching for that needle in the haystack.

Local History and Genealogy Blog

While most of the local history content is Toronto-centric, there are several excellent and comprehensive posts on genealogical research for Canadians in the Local History and Genealogy blog. A recent topic was Passenger Lists & Immigration Records & Home Children.

Inter-Library Loans

Through the Inter-Library Loan system, you can:

A book that may be borrowed from one library by its members may also be transferred and loaned to a member of a distant library under certain conditions. The library must belong to an Inter-Library Loan system or consortium and the library that owns the item must be willing to lend it. Most genealogy and local history items are ineligible because they are for reference within the owner library but that still leaves quite a number above and beyond what we can access directly in our local libraries. Check with your local library whether it supports ILL if it is not mentioned below. 


All Public Libraries in Northumberland County belong to the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS). You can  search all the cooperating library catalogs starting on the page Try a search in INFO or go directly to the INFOntario search page. On this page select the profile that corresponds to your Library:

The search field on this page covers all searchable fields and is good enough if you are looking for a specific title or author. For searches restricted to Subject Headings use the Advanced Search. While this VDX system does not support wildcards, it does support Boolean operators as described above. However, the search expression is restricted to 200 characters maximum so it cannot handle an expression as long as was described above for the SirsiDynix systems.


Once you find an item that you would like to obtain, record its particulars and give them to your local librarian, most reliably done by copying from the results page and pasting into an email message to the address for ILL requests which you should be able to find on your library's website. Also, you will likely find on its website a description of your Library's terms and conditions for Inter-Library Loans.