Obituary of Elizabeth Hancocks, U.E., A.O.C.A., C.G., C.G.R.S., C.A.L.S.

Elizabeth "Libby" Hancocks
Elizabeth “Libby” Hancocks

TORONTO, ONTARIO, FEB 13 2015 — Elizabeth Hancocks, for nearly a quarter of a century Dominion Genealogist of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, died at Grace Hospital in Scarborough on February 13, 2015, after a short illness. She was 87.

It’s well conceivable to say that her work has indirectly influenced many of the applicants on this website, including her son, who is the webmaster and designer of the site. Indeed, her own ancestor, William Johnson, is listed here as an 1812 Veteran.

Elizabeth was a research genealogist with more than a half-century of experience. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art in 1951, she first became interested in genealogy in 1962 as a result of the accidental excavation of a family cemetery during a construction project at Finch and Dufferin Avenues in northwest Toronto.

She was a founding member of the first branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in Toronto, and has been a member of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada since 1962.

Libby, as she was known to friends and colleagues, served the OGS publication Families as its Queries Editor from 1969 to 1978, and was fully familiar with the in’s and out’s of query genealogy.

As she gained genealogical expertise, she became a member of the National Genealogical Society of Washington, D.C., and held the rank of Certified Genealogist for the Board for Certification of Genealogists in the United States. She was the first Canadian — indeed the first non-U.S. citizen — ever to be certified by that century-old organization. In 1985 she was elected to its Board of Trustees where she represented a Canadian professional voice in North American genealogical research matters.

The descendant of a Loyalist — William Casey of Rhode Island — she has always been vitally interested in Loyalist lineages, and played an active role in the affairs of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada.

She was Branch Genealogist for the Governor Simcoe Branch (Toronto), 1965-1972, then assistant Dominion Genealogist at U.E. headquarters for several years. In 1972 she was named Dominion Genealogist, a post she held until 1986. In 1977 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal for her work on Loyalist pedigrees. She was again nominated Dominion Genealogist in 1998, a post she held to the present day.

A professional researcher for hire, her work was accurate and methodical. She was researching in the 1970s when the Ontario Archives was just a room over the Sigmund Samuel Museum in Toronto—a time when researchers were handed original documents to check (no microfilm), and was indexing by hand long before computers gained ascendancy.

She has many genealogical books to her credit. She wrote the preface to Scottish Roots. She was compiler of Loyalist Lineages of Canada, 1783-1983. Her series County Marriage Registers of Ontario and Surrogate Court Index of Ontario, Canada, 1858-1900, compiled with June Gibson, are essential tools for the study of genealogy in Ontario.

Her personal interest in Prince Edward County, in particular, has led her to publish much information on that area, including census and cemetery data.

She is also the author of the chapter on Famous Ontarians and The Shaping of Ontario for Loyal She Remains.

The standard research map set of Ontario, one of a genealogist’s most useful briefcase research tools was compiled by Libby.

Her later interests all revolved around Loyalist genealogy. She remained an active participant in the Association, and was recently given the Dorchester Award by the Loyalist Association for her contributions to Loyalist history.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years George, son Seaghan and wife Sandi, daughter Shannon and husband Arastou Rafizadeh, son Casey and wife Kim, grandchildren Cristiona and husband Bill McKay, Alex, Stephan, Coral, Roya and Emma and great-grandchildren Brydon and Mikayla. Internment will take place at Glenwood Cemetery, Picton, Ontario in late spring or early summer along with the 1812 Veteran plaque ceremony for her ancestor William Johnson.

Her contributions to Canadian genealogy will be missed.