Ontario Archives and Libraries

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The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful to genealogical researchers:

National Archives of Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N4
Telephone: 613-996-5115 or 1-866-578-7777 (toll free in Canada and the US)
Fax: 613-995-6274
TTY: 613-992-6969 or 1-866-299-1699 (toll free in Canada)
Internet:  http://www.collectionscanada.ca/index-e.html
Archives of Ontario
77 Grenville Street Unit 300
Toronto, ON M5S 1B3
Phone: 416-327-1552
Fax: 416-327-1999
Internet: http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/

Many records for the old pre-1867 "Province of Canada" (which combined present Ontario and Quebec) are at the National Archives of Canada. Other records for the province and counties of Ontario are at the Archives of Ontario. Many records from both archives are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.

Both the Archives of Ontario and the National Archives of Canada lend copies of many of their microfilmed records to public libraries through the interlibrary loan service.

If you plan to visit either of these archives, contact the organization and ask for information about their collection, hours, services, and fees.

There are also major genealogical collections located at:

Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4W 2G8
Phone: 416-393-7131
TTY: 416-393-7030
Internet: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/
D. B. Weldon Library
The University of Western Ontario
1151 Richmond Street North
London, ON N6A 3K7
Phone: 519 661-2111 x81111
Fax: 519 850-2979
Internet: http://www.lib.uwo.ca/weldon/

Major church archives are discussed in the "Church Records" section of this outline. To learn about Ontario municipal archives, see sources cited in the Archives and Libraries section of the Canada Research Outline.

Inventories, Registers, and Catalogs

A directory of addresses, telephone numbers, hours, and brief description of collections is:

  • Taylor, Ryan. Important Genealogical Collections in Ontario Libraries and Archives: A Directory. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Genealogical Society, 1994. (FHL book 971.3 J54t; not on microfilm.)

See the "Societies" section of this outline for a directory of Heritage Organization repositories.

A few localities have published inventories of sources relating to their area; these are at archives throughout the province. An excellent example is:

  • Bloomfield, Elizabeth, ed. Inventory of Primary and Archival Sources: Guelph and Wellington County to 1940. Guelph, Ontario: University of Guelph, 1989. (FHL book 971.342 H23i; fiche 6104305.)

Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards

Computers with modems can be useful tools for obtaining information from selected archives and libraries. In a way, computer networks serve as libraries. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial on-line services help family history researchers:

  • Locate other researchers.
  • Post queries.
  • Send and receive E-mail.
  • Search large databases.
  • Search computer libraries.
  • Join in computer chat and lecture sessions.

You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Ontario in a variety of sources at local, provincial, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost.

Addresses on the Internet change frequently. As of May 2007, the following sites are important gateways linking you to many more network and bulletin board sites:

Canada GenWeb

A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county and province.

Canadian Genealogy Resources

Lists county, provincial, and national resources; personal pages; and publications.


A useful list of sites and resources. Includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list.


The Family History Library and some Family History Centers have computers with FamilySearch™. Familysearch is a collection of computer files containing several million names. This is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources.