Ontario, Canada Genealogy

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Guide to Ontario ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Ontario Information

Ontario is a province in the East central region of Canada.

Land was not legally subdivided into administrative units until a treaty had been concluded with the Aboriginal people ceding the land. In 1788, while part of the Province of Quebec, southern Ontario was divided into four districts: Hesse, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Nassau.

In 1792, the four districts were renamed: Hesse became the Western District, Lunenburg became the Eastern District, Mecklenburg became the Midland District, and Nassau became the Home District. Counties were created within the districts.

By 1798, there were eight districts: Eastern, Home, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, and Western.

By 1826, there were eleven districts: Bathurst, Eastern, Gore, Home, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, Ottawa, and Western.

By 1838, there were twenty districts: Bathurst, Brock, Colbourne, Dalhousie, Eastern, Gore, Home, Huron, Johnstown, London, Midland, Newcastle, Niagara, Ottawa, Prince Edward, Simcoe, Talbot, Victoria, Wellington, and Western.

In 1849, the districts of southern Ontario were abolished by the Province of Canada, and county governments took over certain municipal responsibilities. The Province of Canada also began creating districts in sparsely populated Northern Ontario with the establishment of Algoma District and Nipissing District in 1858.

The borders of Ontario, its new name in 1867, were provisionally expanded north and west. When the Province of Canada was formed, its borders were not entirely clear, and Ontario claimed eventually to reach all the way to the Rocky Mountains and Arctic Ocean. With Canada's acquisition of Rupert's Land, Ontario was interested in clearly defining its borders, especially since some of the new areas in which it was interested were rapidly growing. After the federal government asked Ontario to pay for construction in the new disputed area, the province asked for an elaboration on its limits, and its boundary was moved north to the 51st parallel north.

The northern and western boundaries of Ontario were in dispute after Canadian Confederation. Ontario's right to Northwestern Ontario was determined by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1884 and confirmed by the Canada (Ontario Boundary) Act, 1889 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. By 1899, there were seven northern districts: Algoma, Manitoulin, Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, and Thunder Bay. Four more northern districts were created between 1907 and 1912: Cochrane, Kenora, Sudbury and Timiskaming.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article ["https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario" "Ontario"].

Getting Started

Getting Started with Ontario Research

Links to articles on getting started with Ontario research.

Ontario Research Tools

Links to articles and websites that assist in Ontario research.

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Historical Counties and Districts

Current Ontario Jurisdictions

The article, Current Ontario Counties, Districts, and Municipalities, shows the most recent government divisions at the county or equivalent level.

Extinct Counties and Districts

Addington County · Bothwell District · Brant County · Cardwell District · Carleton County · Dufferin County · Dundas County · Durham County · Frontenac County · Glengarry County · Grenville County · Haldimand County · Halton County · Kent County · Leeds County · Lennox County · Lincoln County · Monck District · Niagara District · Norfolk County · Ontario County · Patricia County · Peel County · Prescott County · Prince Edward County · Russell County · Stormont County · Sudbury Regional Municipality · Suffolk County · Victoria County · Welland County · Waterloo County · Wentworth County · York County

Migration Routes

Ottawa River · St. Lawrence River · Lake Champlain · Lake Erie · Lake Huron · Lake Ontario · Lake Superior · Addinton Road · Bobcageon Road · Halifax Road or Grand Communication Route · Hastings Road · King's Road · Monck Road · Nipissing Road · Opeongo Line · Provincial Road · Talbot Trail · Chambly Canal · Erie Canal · Soo Locks · Canadian Pacific Railway

FamilySearch Resources

Below are FamilySearch resources that can assist you in resourcing your family.