We often think of farming as a traditional occupation—something that hasn’t really changed much. But that is not and was never the case. Farmers had to react and adapt to changing conditions like climate, technology, economics, new markets and new competitors. Some farmers did more than adapt. They set out to be the most productive by innovating with new techniques and processes, products, and marketing. Farm journals and business records survive in many archives. Farmers may have had help and encouragement along the way from agricultural associations, community groups, government agencies, or private patrons. Digitization of many of the records of these pro-agriculture organizations has made them a viable source to help us understand the changes that were happening around our farming ancestors—and whether they were leading the way or following the pack.

 


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About the Presenter:

Jane E. MacNamara, Toronto, is the author of Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and other Records for Family Historians (OGS/Dundurn) and writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca. A longtime member of the Ontario Genealogical Society, Jane lectures about research methodology, Ontario, and English family history to genealogical and historical groups throughout southern Ontario. She teaches courses for Toronto Branch OGS, most notably hands-on courses about Ontario records.