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From Pennsylvania to Waterloo - A Biographical History of Waterloo Township

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About This Project

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Historians, genealogists and collectors have long decried the Out-of-Print status of Ezra Eby’s landmark book, “A Biographical History of Waterloo Township.” In January 2003, Region of Waterloo Library and Joseph Schneider Haus Museum decided to remedy this by applying to the Ontario Ministry of Culture’s Digital Alliances fund.

The project quickly grew from simply displaying the text of Eby’s book on the Web. Digitization offered so many more possibilities: users could search for any word used in the book, not just those an indexer had decided were important; photographs, maps and documents associated with people named in the book could be displayed and linked to the person named. The online book could offer much much more than the original print version.

To realize this vision, a steering committee worked for 18 months. Members included

    Lucille Bish, Director, Community Services, Region of Waterloo
    Darryl Bonk, Waterloo Region Branch Ontario Genealogical Society
    Susan Burke, Joseph Schneider Haus Museum
    Kae Elgie, Region of Waterloo Library
    Liz Hardin, Doon Heritage Crossroads
    Nigel Roberts, Information Technology Services, Region of Waterloo

Just as the steering committee started work, Our Roots - Canada's Local History Online, brought the pages of the Ezra Eby book online at their site. Our Roots generously shared their digital files, allowing the committee to focus exclusively on enriching the text.

Numerous meetings and extensive consultation with an advisory group helped identify artifacts, photographs, documents, and items related to persons named in the book. Some ten organizations actively participated in the project, including

Special thanks goes to the taxpayers of the Region of Waterloo and Ontario and Canada, for funding from the Ontario Ministry of Culture’s Library Strategic Development Fund: Digital Alliances, and Industry Canada’s LibraryNet Youth Employment Initiative, and especially to the dozens of volunteer typists recruited from the Kitchener Ontario Family History Center and Waterloo Region Branch Ontario Genealogical Society, who entered the entire text of Ezra Eby’s book into Ancestral Quest genealogy software. Special thanks to Bryan Trussler for assistance and support in the early days of the project.

Project staff included

    Anthony Robins, Information Architect and Web Designer
    Dianne Smith, Researcher
    Heather Olsen, Katherine Olsen, Sarah Pallin, and Arielle Umbach, Data Input

Volunteers

    Marian Windley, Becky Schaefer, Bonnie Anderson, David Westfall, Diane Leonard, George Winfield, Ivan McQuillin, Jamie Kropf, Laurie Strome, Paul Gross, Sharon Neville, John Wilson, Sharon Wilson, Peggy McArthur, Gordon Ambrose, Rosemary Ambrose, Breathe Thompson, Marion Roes, Don Devine

This site is a pilot project. We hope to add information about other families as time and money allow. Contact us if you can help.


About person ID numbers:

Each person in this site has a unique ID number. This number is used to link object records to the specific person[s] who owned or created the object.

In the Eby ID, the first six digits denote the family. For example, Hallman family members start 00048- The next 4 digits are the number Ezra Eby gave to this person in his book. For example, Fannie Hallman, found on page 772, was entry number 3628. The Eby ID for Fannie Hallman is thus 00048-3628. In addition, some individuals may have a decimal number which follows (i.e. 00048-3628.1) which indicates that they are related to the person assigned to the number before the decimal (00048-3628) but do not have their own seperate entry in the original Eby publications.

The Person ID is a number randomly assigned by the Ancestral Quest genealogical software.

Ezra Eby’s comments about a person have been typed into the Notes section of the individual record. The original page number is listed at the end of the Sources note. You can read the complete text of the page by going to the Our Roots - Nos Racines site, finding the Eby book, and then pulling the menu down to that page number.

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©Region of Waterloo LogoRegion of Waterloo Fraktur design based on Family Register by Jacob Shoemacher in Joseph Schneider Bible, 1821.