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(To Researching a House in Weston – in Phase II of the WHCD)

So you want to find out more about your house? I think you will find it’s a very satisfying and interesting pastime that will also help to move the community one step closer to becoming a Heritage Conservation District.

Research is not a straight-forward or black-and-white process. You will find bits and pieces of information that, only when looked at as a whole, make any sense. Sometimes new information will contradict the old so you need to go back and take another look. Sometimes you will make a giant leap in collecting information and other days you will find nothing.

Although there is no clear cut approach to researching there are some definite rules to follow and understand. Remember that all your sources are man-made and people make mistakes. Always confirm the information you find with more than one source and write down where you found your information so it can be verified.

Photocopying or photographing the information is better than transcribing by hand. When you copy data by machine there is less chance of you making a mistake, you are more likely to get all the information and you capture the essence of the original – terrible writing and all! Archives and libraries will now let you take your own USB flash drive and copy items right to that. Less paper and no cost!

The information and notes on the following pages were current when first written; however, archives and libraries are constantly changing the way they do things. If you find any new information please let me know. The Weston Heritage Conservation District, in association with the Weston Historical Society, is constantly updating its online holdings, so check back every once in a while to see what is new.

The best place to start in your research is in your own home. Take a look at your mortgage document, survey, deed, tax assessment, house plans, books, articles or family stories (if you have been in the house for a while). Tax assessments and deeds are standard and will always have the plan number and lot description on them. These two numbers are the most important pieces of information you will need for your research. The deed also notes the Parcel and Section numbers which you will use later.

A survey can, but will not always, include:
  1. Lot description- Plan number and Lot number
  2. Architect or builder
  3. What the house is made of
  4. Former owner
  5. Former address
  6. Additions built
  7. Frontage and acreage
  8. Date house was built
These are all important pieces of information.

In order for you to research a house you need to know a little about the history of the area. Weston can be difficult to research because every time it got incorporated or amalgamated, documents were moved. Some were lost, some were destroyed and others have not been archived yet. So take some time to look through the information on “Weston’s History and Geography” page. Remember you are dealing with the way things used to be, so the resources you will be using will have terms and names from that time. (i.e. York instead of Toronto) After you have done that then proceed to the next two pages – Online Resources and Physical Resources.

Tip: Work backwards. This way you are starting with familiar information and gradually (hopefully) moving into new data.

Thank you so much for your interest in your house and your community.
Happy hunting!

Cherri Hurst
Weston Heritage Conservation District President

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