GenTraveling to Upper Canada


Hello GenTravelers!

Well, my next GenTraveling excursion is coming up shortly! It is currently snowing here in my neck of the woods, so this chilly-looking photo of Lake Ontario seemed appropriate.  However, I’m hoping for MUCH warmer weather in a few weeks.  The plane tickets are purchased, the itinerary is sketched out, my list of repositories that I want to visit is….well, long and getting longer!

We (my hubby and I) will be GenTraveling to Upper Canada. You know, I remember being confused when I initially came across that term – it seemed so backwards that “Upper” was being referred to that area of the map – anyone else??? If so, here’s an explanation (per Wikipedia HERE):

The “upper” prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes, mostly above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada (present-day Quebec) to the northeast.

But…back to my GenTraveling plans – the plan is to to circumnavigate Lake Ontario! Fun eh?  We’ll start our journey in Toronto, then travel King’s Highway 33 (aka Loyalist Parkway):

In 1784, following the American Revolution, the United Empire Loyalists began to arrive in Upper Canada, hoping to settle the frontier near Cataraqui (now Kingston). With the help of the military, the loyalists blazed a trail west from Cataraqui to Bath, a distance of 25 kilometres (16 mi). This trail would become a section of Highway 33 nearly 150 years later. [source]

I have loyalist ancestors that I need to research, so we’ll stop in at The Lennox and Addington Historical Society.

We’ll continue on and hopefully hit some waterfalls:

ontario waterfalls

We’ll explore the Thousand Islands region, then head down to New York (where I have MAJOR research to conduct – wish me luck and much success!),  we’ll head west and hopefully hit some lighthouses. I LOVE photographing lighthouses. By the way, did you know there is a Lighthouse Society?  Who knew! (I might have to join). Plus, they are nice enough to keep a list of Lake Ontario lighthouses up on their website. Thanks Lighthouse Society! [Link HERE] This is Sodus Point lighthouse and I even had a distant cousin live in Sodus Point for a while.  Possible research there too!


Next up is Niagara Falls and then back up to Toronto.  We’ll have gone full circle! I’m totally excited!  We’re going to pack A LOT into those 8 days!

Now, excuse me – I have a TON of prep-research to do!  Have a great day and good luck climbing those family trees!


So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!


GenTraveling to Oneida County, New York


(photo source)

Do you have any ancestors from Oneida County, New York? I do, and I’ve GenTraveled there:

My ancestors were mostly from the Westernville area.  The photo above is an awesome HDR (high dynamic range) photo of the Methodist Church, located on Main Street in Westernville.  My great-grandfather, who was a minister, probably preached in this building at some point. Here’s my phone-photo of the same building – now you know why I picked the HDR photo as the main photo! Haha!


Our GenTraveling trip to Oneida County was fascinating and it was a blast to walk in the footsteps of ancestors!  If you’re planning to go…here are my tips:

  • Plan to visit Utica Public Library (Utica is the county seat). They have a nice section just for genealogy. Be sure to call ahead to find out when the ‘Genealogy Room‘ is open and a volunteer is on duty. Our volunteer was great! Great sense of humor and knowledgeable too (terrific combination, right?) I believe he mentioned he had retired from the NY Health Department. Funny guy! :o) This library also has one of the few copies of the New York Vital Records Index.  This index is not published online – you have to go to New York to look at this index. Here’s a list of where else you can look at the micro fiche copies of the index – (LINK HERE)
  • The people at the Surrogate Court office were very helpful too!  Although I didn’t find many wills or probate records for my people, since I was looking pretty far back, which is a bummer! But, the people were great and helped me find some newer stuff.  Possibly good for future research projects.  Their address is 800 Park Avenue, Utica. HERE’s their website that has some other “popular links”.
  • This county has two historical societies, one in Utica, and one in Rome.  Both were great – although, for my family, I appreciated the Rome Historical Society a bit more (closer proximity to Westernville). Here’s links to each of their websites: Oneida County Historical Society and Rome Historical Society.
  • The  Jervis Library in Rome also has a good-sized ‘Genealogy/Local History Room’.  It’s on the second floor (or was it the 3rd?) of the library.  You’ll take the elevator up and you feel like you’re all alone in the attic of the library.  You’ll most likely be the only one up there!  The down-side is, there’s no librarians to ask questions of.  You kind of have to know what you’re looking for before you get there.  So, do your research, before you go do your research!
  • Lastly, use old maps to find where your ancestors lived and then use Google Maps to find your way in today’s world.  SO fun!  I found Historical Map Works to be helpful.

That is it for Oneida County from me.  If you’ve traveled there and have anything to add, please do so! It’s so great when family historians help and share with each other!

If you have a GenTraveling story to tell and would like to be considered to be a guest author on this site, please email your article to gentraveling at gmail dot com. Thank you!