News & Updates

FWIO Receives Library and Archives Canada Funding to Preserve Historical Documents

June 2, 2017 - The Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario (FWIO) are pleased to announce funding from Library and Archives Canada through their Documentary Heritage Communities Program. FWIO has been preserving, digitizing and making accessible its many Tweedsmuir Community History Collections (commonly called Tweedsmuirs) and record books found across Ontario. The first phase, which ended March 31, 2016, provided a searchable website featuring items already digitized, and the digitization of further documents. This new funding of $100,000/year over three years will help FWIO digitize additional Tweedsmuir collections and other records books which will be added to the Virtual Archives.

This three-year phase will:

  1. Continue to digitize more of the remaining Tweedsmuir collections and records books across Ontario and make them available to the public. There have been approximately 2,000 Women's Institute (WI) Branches through the years across rural Ontario. Besides minute and record books, it is estimated there are 1,300 Tweedsmuir collections that have been created, with about 1,000 collections not yet digitized.
  2. Inspect and repair, as required, the documents being digitized.
  3. Link to WI documents that are already available on other websites.
  4. Commemorate the 120th anniversary of the WI movement in 2017 by creating a virtual exhibit and library, documenting the many halls, community buildings, monuments, cairns, etc. created by WI Members as part of community service.

Besides having the original documents remain locally, researchers across Ontario, Canada, and the world will be able to access the Tweedsmuirs and other historical documents and information to learn about our rich communities, conduct family research, and discover the wonderful work that has been created by WI Members.

FWIO gratefully acknowledges the Government of Canada’s support, through the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada.

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Check out the Start of FWIO's Virtual Archives

As of March 31, 2016 there is now an online platform to allow WI Members and the public to access the many documents the Women’s Institutes (WI) have created across the province since 1897, while the original documents remain within their communities.

At this point in time, the following documents are available for viewing and searching.  More will be released on an ongoing basis, after they are reviewed for privacy considerations.

  1. The complete series of the FWIO newsletter, The Home & Country, from 1933 to present.
  2. The WI original constitution, penned in 1897.
  3. Award-winning Tweedsmuir Community History Collections which document the history of a community, from 10 Branches. (Private information has been removed.)
  4. Three published books on the history of the WI, for our 40th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries.
  5. Minute and record books for six Branches, including the minutes of Stoney Creek, the first WI Branch in the world. (Documents less than 50 years old are not available due to privacy considerations.)
  6. Other miscellaneous documents, such as a photo album on a Stone Fence Project.

Check out this virtual archives and learn about the rich communities in Ontario, conduct family research, and discover the wonderful work that has been created by WI Members.  FWIO is applying for further grants to continue digitizing documents and adding them to this platform.  We also encourage the public to donate to this worthwhile project.

We gratefully acknowledge the Government of Canada’s support, through the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada.

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