|Located in||Upper Canada, Canada (1822 - 1841)|
|Also located in||Canada West, Canada (1841 - 1849)|
|See also||Eastern District, Upper Canada, Canada||former administrative region (1788-1798)|
|Johnstown District, Upper Canada, Canada||former administrative region (1798-1822)|
|Dalhousie District, Upper Canada, Canada||administrative region for portion of Bathurst District (1838-1849)|
|Lanark, Ontario, Canada||administrative county for portion of Bathurst District after 1849|
|Renfrew, Ontario, Canada||administrative county for portion of Bathurst District after 1849|
The Bathurst District was a historic district in Upper Canada which was created from the Johnstown District in 1822 and existed until 1849. It contained only Carleton County. The district town was Perth.
In 1824, Lanark County was created from part of Carleton County. In 1838, some townships were transferred from the Johnstown District into Lanark County and Carleton County was separated from Bathurst District to become the major part of a new Dalhousie District. Renfrew County was also established from the northern part of Lanark County in 1838.
In 1849, the district was replaced by Lanark County and Renfrew County.
OntarioGenWeb has a series of outline maps of Bathurst District illustrating the townships included in various years.
1824--its original make up.
1838--The six townships of Carleton County section have gone(top right of map); Renfrew County appears with new townships in a line along on the northwest border.
1845--more townships in Renfrew County appear to allow for the population surge.
The Archives of Ontario has also produced a series of maps illustrating the growth of the District system across the province.
Ontario Districts: an Explanation
When Upper Canada was formed in 1788 it was immediately divided into four districts: Hesse, Nassau, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg. In 1792 these names were changed to Western, Home, Midland and Eastern respectively. The expansion in population of the province, and in the area settled, obliged the number of Districts to increase. By 1849 there were twenty individual districts, each with a number of counties under its jurisdiction.
After 1841, when the government of Upper Canada was reorganized and the province became known as Canada West, some of the responsibilities of the districts were transferred to local municipal councils in cities and towns (e.g. property tax collecting), although the districts still retained complete control over judicial matters.
From 1788 until 1849 in the area which is now Ontario, the District was the layer of government responsible for all judicial and administrative functions that could be carried out at a level below that of the province itself. Counties existed in the province from 1792, but they were little more than electoral and census divisions.
In 1849 the Districts were abolished and their functions were taken over by the individual counties or by united counties working within one municipal administration.
Most of the government documents the genealogist may require—those dealing with land, the registration of marriages, and minor criminal proceedings--will have been produced by the District before 1849 and by the Counties after that date. Serious land conflicts, or those concerning more than one District, will have found their way into Provincial Records. The same will have been true of criminal matters. Divorce was not even a provincial matter, but a federal one, until 1930.