February 1, 2010

12 Months of Finding Ancestors: Life Insurance Records (Part 2 of a 12 Part Series)

Welcome to Part 2 of a 12 month series about finding and using less obvious genealogy records to find ancestors. Last month we talked about Medical Records and how they are often overlooked in our ancestor searching.

This month let's explore Life Insurance records. These can be difficult to find, and you will have to be very creative in your hunt for survining records. But you can start with a check of local archives as well as websites for various insurance companies. At the Insurance Company websites be sure to look to see if they have a historical archives.

Family Tree Connection holds many Insurance Company records You can search for a name of interest but must purchase a subscription to view details.

Some records are in books. We were lucky enough to inherit a book called "Report of the Superintendent of Insurance of the Dominion of Canada for the Year Ending 31st December 1890"

The book was published in 1891 in Ottawa, Canada, and included in its pages are approximately 60 pages of names of shareholders and guarantors for various Insurance and Assurance Companies across Canada.

The date for the list of names is 1890 and the wonderful thing about these is that they include people from all over Canada, as well as USA and Europe.

Each individual has a residence listed, in some cases, an actual street address. What really intrigued me about these lists was that the residences included such places as:

Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Scotland, New York, Quebec, Vermont, Pennsylvania, NWT, England, Illinois, India, Newfoundland, Manitoba, Cape Breton, Jamaica, Ireland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Massachussets, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Channel Islands, and Wales.

These lists can be used simply to verify that an individual lived in a certain place in 1890. They also contain quite a bit of detail for some entries, which are terrific clues for further research. We transcribed the names in this book and have placed them online for genealogists to search

You can see a list of the Company Records that we have transcribed and published online. Just click on any link to view the list of names. This is an ongoing project for OliveTreeGenealogy.com and you will have to check back to see when it is updated with more names.

The complete list of Company Records follows:

* The Accident Insurance Company of North America (List of Shareholders)
* The Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company of Canada (List of Shareholders)
* British America Assurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* Canada Accident Insurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* The Canada Life Assurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* The Citizens' Insurance Company of Canada (List of Shareholders)
* Confederation Life Association (List of Shareholders)
* The Dominion Life Assurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* Dominion Safety Fund Life Association (List of Stockholders)
* Dominion Plate Glass Insurance Company (List of Stockholders)
* Eastern Assurance Company of Canada (List of Shareholders)
* Federal Life Assurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* Guarantee Company of North America (List of Shareholders)
* London Life Insurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* Manufacturers' Accident Insurance Company (List of Stockholders)
* Manufacturers LIfe Insurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* North American Life Assurance Company (List of Guarantors)
* Quebec Fire Assurance Company (List of Stockholders)
* Royal Canadian Insurance Company (List of Stockholders)
* Sun Life Insurance Company (List of Shareholders)
* The Temperance and General Life Assurance Company (list of Guarantors)
* Western Assurance Company (List of Shareholders)

I urge researchers to hunt for Life Insurance records for an elusive ancestor! It is another set of records that is not often thought of but the details you can find about an ancestor can be quite thrilling!

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