Beamsville is a town located in the former Clinton Township in Lincoln County in southern Ontario. Beamsville is now found in the Town of Lincoln in the Regional Municipality of Niagara. The change took place in 1970 when the regional municipality was created.
The community of Beamsville (2011 Urban area estimated population 10,679) is part of the town of Lincoln in the province of Ontario in Canada. It is located along the southern shore of Lake Ontario and lies within the fruit belt of the Niagara Peninsula. It contains century-old brick buildings, an old-fashioned downtown area with barbershops, women's dress shops, a bakery, a print shop, restaurants, banks, and other businesses, and plenty of orchards and vineyards.
Beamsville, Ontario was named after Jacob Beam (1728-1812), a United Empire Loyalist. Both of his homes — the original one located on the Thirty Mile Creek, as well as the one near downtown Beamsville — are still intact today.
Jacob and Catharine Beam (1737-1820), along with their daughter Catharine (Beam) Merrell (1766-1842), and son-in-law Samuel Merrell (1758-1833), emigrated to Canada from New Jersey in 1788, and founded Beamsville.
Beamsville is also home to the annual Lincoln County Agricultural Fair, usually held on or around the first weekend of September. This fair is a very well known fair throughout the area, and attracts thousands of people every year since its inception in 1857. However, there has been recent controversy over the fairgrounds as Desantis homes is looking to rezone the fairgrounds as a residential area, and leaving the fair to be moved an area on the escarpment, which would ruin its natural order.
In 1970, the Town of Beamsville was amalgamated with Clinton and (half of) Louth to form the larger Town of Lincoln.
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1914 are now available [October 2012]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada. All of the original census (1851-1911) images are online with the exception of that for 1861. Not all of them are indexed. Later censuses are not yet available. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Lincoln County