Exploring the History of 182 Wellington St.

Not a step-by-step strategy, but an example of what can be done by combining the Snapshot Kingston tool with city directories, census records and other resources from KFPL's Presents from the Past blog -- check this out:

example01From the 1908 Fire Insurance Plan in the City of Kingston Historical Maps collection, plus the 1908 Kingston City Directory, we learn that the property was occupied by a milliner, Miss E.V. Greaza.

From the 1911 Census of Canada, we learn that Miss Emily Greaza was 53 years old, the head of a household, a milliner. She lived on Wellington Street. The street address is illegible in the census record, but the City Directories for 1910-1911 and 1911-1912 place her at 182 Wellington.

In 1911, she held a $1500 life insurance policy, for which she paid $16 per year. Her origins were French, but her first language was English. She could read and write, and was a Roman Catholic.  Also in the household were her elder sisters Pauline (59 years old, no occupation) and Sophia M. (61 years old, widowed, married name McGreth[?], no occupation.)

Note that the census page also contains a great deal of information about her neighbours and neighbourhood, and the buildings they lived in.

example03By using the keyword search feature in the 1911 City Directory, we can locate the names and addresses of [at least some of] Miss Greaza’s employees.

For example, her employee Mary Barry lived at 38 Ellice, along with Edward J. Barry, a clerk; James E. Barry, a tailor with John Tweddell Co.; and Leo Barry, an electrician. We could use the 1911 Census to determine the relationships between the people in this household (are they Mary's brothers?) and to find out a lot of other information about them.

Each of the orange “bookmarks” in the online city directory represents another instance of the name Greaza, and most of these refer to her employees.

example04 From the 1921 Census of Canada, we learn that Miss Greaza and her sister Pauline (single, 58 yrs old) lived in rented accommodations at 182 Wellington Street. Also in the household was their new maid, 23-year old Annie McReath, who had just  immigrated from Scotland within the previous few months.

They occupied six rooms in a single apartment, for which they paid rent of $45 per month. The building was made of stone. Miss Greaza was still a milliner and proprietress of her business.

Note that the census page includes a great deal of information about her neighbours, as well–a detailed “snapshot” of the neighbourhood.

example05Since there is no index to the Kingston Whig-Standard for the years in question, we need to establish a death date for Miss Greaza before we can find her obituary.

Using Ancestry-Library Edition (free access, in-library only) we locate the death registration.

Miss Emma Greaza died on 17 December 1936 in the House of Providence, age 81, from diabetes and arteriosclerosis. She had lived in Kingston all her life, and worked as a milliner. Her father was Charles N. Greaza of Westport, and her mother was Mary DeLisle of Chaffey’s Locks.

example06Now that we have an exact date of death, we can search for her obituary in the Kingston Whig-Standard on microfilm.

"At the House of Providence on Thursday evening the death occurred of a well-known Kingston woman, in the person of Miss Emma Greaza. Deceased carried on a millinery business on Wellington Street for many years but lately had been retired from business. Miss Greaza, who was 81 years of age, was born in Kingston and had always lived here.

The funeral will be held from the House of Providence Chapel on Saturday morning at nine o’clock to St. Mary’s Cemetery, following requiem mass."

Who occupied 182 Wellington Street after the Greaza family?  The city directories in the Special Collections Room at the Central Library would be a good place to look next. And thanks to Snapshot Kingston's aerial photos from 1955 until 2013, we can see how the neighbourhood grew and changed over the years!

example07 1978 Aerial Photo of 182 Wellington Street from Snapshot Kingston
example08 2008 Aerial Photo of 182 Wellington Street from Snapshot Kingston
example09 Google Street View of 182 Wellington Street: Kuluta Buddhist Centre


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