10 May 2009

IOOF database for OGS members

The Ontario Genealogical Society have now made available to members a database which is an index to policies issued between 1875 and 1929 for the Independent Order of Oddfellows life insurance program. Approximately 60,000 men from all across Canada applied.

The index contains: the applicant's last and first names, his date of birth, the community he was living in when he applied, the province, the policy number, and the policy date.

The index is searched by surname, meaning that for common names you do have to scroll through multiple pages to find, or fail to find, your man. Smith occurs on 36 pages with 20 policies per page.

OGS informs that the actual application form contains a great deal of information: health information, marital status, occupation, beneficiary (usually wife, parent, or sibling), number of siblings, and a health status of siblings, parents, and grandparents (often including age at death but not including names). It also includes the signature of the applicant and may include interesting attachments. It is a four page 8 ½ by 11 document.

OGS will provide a copy of any application form dated more than one hundred years ago. The hundred year rule supposedly is necessary as the application contains health information. It's strange that there's no ability for next of kin to receive information before 100 years.

For policies where access is permitted the full document is available by writing to OGS including all the information from the index and enclosing a cheque or credit card number for $10.80, which includes tax.


Linda Reid said...

My grandfather "George Brown" appeared on screen 20 of 25 screens for men with the surname "Brown". He made his insurance application in 1917 and died in 1959. It is hard to understand how his privacy is being protected by refusing access until 2017. Does anyone know what law requires this restriction?

GW said...

As an OGS member, I have waited a long time for this database. I am a bit surprised that members are charged $10 and change for the privilege especially when I am not sure what I get for my money. Would it be possible for the Society to post a sample form so I can see for myself the kind of information that I am paying for? Any why charge members $10? Why not open the database to everyone and charge non-members the $10, thus giving the rest of us a "benefit" of membership?