Births, Marriages & deaths published in The Equity beginning 1883 now available for researchers

The Pontiac Archives has received digital copies of births, marriages and deaths beginning with the first year The Equity newspaper was published June 7, 1883.

Earlier birth, marriage and death notices may have been missed, with the poor printing and filming.

This first volume covers the years 1883, 1884, and 1892 to 1900.

In this second volume of the Shawville Equity, the years missing from the first volume have been recorded: 1885 to 1891, 1899, and 1901 to December 1905. Many copies were very difficult to read, in some cases impossible as the whole page appeared to be blank. Therefore, many items were not included although they were published. In the case of marriage announcements, possibly the only words to be seen described the wedding festivities or the gifts, with no names of the principals decipherable, and therefore omitted the whole item.

Death notices outnumbered both the birth and marriage announcements as in the first volume. Although not as flowery as in earlier years, the age and place of burial continue to be omitted.  Consulted collection of Pontiac cemeteries in the hope of finding the missing data, sometimes successfully in which case it has been added.

It is hoped that this collection proves of interest to those seeking information on their relations and the earlier pioneers of the area.

Volume 3 1906-1911 Birth, Marriage and Death Extracts

Volume 4 1912-1916 Birth, Marriage and Death Extracts

The Equity MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENTS  In this second volume, changes have been noticed in the marriage ceremonies now that the new century has begun. No longer are the church decorations noted as being done by the bride’s relations and friends, occasionally the church will be “suitably decorated” but possibly a florist has begun business in the area or a Ladies’ Aid has taken over the arrangements. The marriage notices have become noticeably less florid and ethereal. The bride now has sufficient strength to enter the church under her own power without “leaning on the arm of her father” and undergoes her “arduous ordeal” quite capably. The same for the groom who can now perform his vows at the altar with or without the support of a best man. Ushers and bridesmaids have not made their appearances as yet, just two witnesses for the signing of the register. Bridal ensembles are slowly becoming more festive with cream and beige for both the bride and her attendant, and veils have made their appearance. No mention as yet of “going away” costumes but then the happy couple are usually noted as entering their bridal carriage to be whisked away to the bride’s home for the festivities. Thence to the groom’s residence or farm in the early hours. Bridal bouquets rate an occasional non-descriptive notice. The ritual of opening the gifts at the reception does not receive as much attention after 1900 although the odd notable wedding will list the larger items such as furniture. Brides and grooms have begun exchanging gifts, mainly furs or jewelry and gifts to their attendants are noted. Receptions are not always held at the “residence of the bride’s father” as before, but sometimes at the homes of relatives or friends of the couple probably because the parents of one or the other lives at a distance, or there are no parents, however, receptions have yet to be held on church property, hotels, dance halls or other public accommodation. That will come in the future.

DEATH NOTICES AND MEMORIAMS Death notices at the start of this newspaper, were difficult to detect on the disorganized pages, owing to the flowery and descriptive prose of the day. No one “died” they “pierced the ethereal veil/ascended to a new life in the hereafter/broke the wall of familial affection/submitted to death’s relentless, icy grasp/winged it’s flight homeward” or “passed away from earthly scenes” and rarely by natural causes. Deaths, particularly accidental, were described in all their gory detail, and we were particularly struck by the number of suicides, drownings, and deaths from consumption (tuberculosis) diptheria, scarlatina (scarlet fever) measles, meningitis, cancer, typhoid fever and falling trees. Operations and amputations were done without anaesthesia generally as ether, etc. were unknown for that purpose so that most of the patients died of shock.  However, some of those afflicted survived in spite of their ordeals.  Funerals were almost always held in the deceased’s home, occasionally in the church, but rarely was the name of the cemetery given, only the religious affiliation. The Minister or Priest of the area performed the rites. Cremations were almost unknown unless the person died a great distance from home and was being returned for burial. The departed one was prepared for burial by either the women of the family or the local Midwife, the coffin built by the area carpenter, and friends and neighbors contributed to the “funeral meal” after the return from the cemetery.  Obituaries were brief unless the person was well-known  or in politics. It seemed to be much more important to list the deceased’s achievements, position and relationships to those of higher status rather than his age, place of birth and surviving relatives. Women were always “the wife of” “the Widow” or the “daughter of” and most times had no given name. We facetiously refer to these ladies as “No Names”. Men were “Esquires” (a rural landowner, tradesman or businessman) rarely a “Mr.” Position in the hierarchy seemed very important in that day.

The above material is available for you to use for researching.   Please come in on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, 9 – 4 pm.

If you can not visit the Archives, email to, and a volunteer  will research for you at $20.00 per hour.   The findings will be emailed or mailed to you.   Please be sure to send your name and mailing address.