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 Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Ontario Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources


History[edit | edit source]

  • Located in Central Canada, Ontario is Canada's most populous province, with 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province by total area.
  • Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the region was inhabited by Algonquian (Ojibwe, Cree and Algonquin) in the northern/western portions, and Iroquois and Wyandot (Huron) people more in the south/east.
  • The English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into Hudson Bay in 1611 and claimed the area for England.
  • In 1615, French missionaries began to establish posts along the Great Lakes. French settlement was hampered by their hostilities with the Iroquois, who allied themselves with the British. From 1634 to 1640, Hurons were devastated by European infectious diseases, such as measles and smallpox. By 1700, the Iroquois had seceded from Ontario.
  • The British established trading posts on Hudson Bay in the late 17th century and began a struggle for domination of Ontario with the French. After the French during the Seven Years' War, those lands of Ontario not already claimed by Britain became British. The British annexed the Ontario region to Quebec in 1774.
  • The first European settlements were in 1782–1784 when 5,000 American loyalists entered what is now Ontario following the American Revolution. The Kingdom of Great Britain granted them 200 acres land and other items with which to rebuild their lives.
  • The British also set up reserves in Ontario for the Mohawks who had fought for the British and had lost their land in New York state. Other Iroquois, also displaced from New York were resettled in 1784 at the Six Nations reserve at the west end of Lake Ontario. The Mississaugas, displaced by European settlements, would later move to Six Nations also.
  • The Constitutional Act of 1791 split Quebec into the Canadas: Upper Canada southwest of the St. Lawrence-Ottawa River confluence, and Lower Canada east of it.
  • After the War of 1812, relative stability allowed for increasing numbers of immigrants to arrive from Europe rather than from the United States. By the end of the century, Ontario vied with Quebec as the nation's leader in terms of growth in population, industry, arts and communications.
  • Upper and Lower Canada were merged into the Province of Canada by the Act of Union 1840, with the capital at Kingston, and Upper Canada becoming known as Canada West.
  • The British North America Act took effect on July 1, 1867, establishing the Dominion of Canada, initially with four provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. The Province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Quebec so that each linguistic group would have its own province.[1]

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Getting Started with Ontario Research


Ontario Research Tools

Links to articles and websites that assist in Ontario research.

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Ontario Map[edit | edit source]

Ontario-map.png

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Historical Counties and Districts[edit | edit source]

Current Ontario Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

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

Extinct Counties and Districts[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Ottawa River · St. Lawrence River · Lake Champlain · Lake Erie · Lake Huron · Lake Ontario · Lake Superior · Addington Road · Bobcaygeon 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[edit | edit source]

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

  • "Ontario", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario#History, accessed 26 October 2020.