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.
The Queen Elizabeth Way - the main road that connects Toronto and Buffalo, New York has an interchange at Beamsville. Many tourists stop off at the highway exit for something to eat at the many fast food restaurants located nearby.
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.
By 1869, Beamsville was a village with a population of 550 in the Township of Clinton, Lincoln County. It was on the Great Western Railway. The average price of land in vicinity was $45.
In 1898, hockey players in the town of Beamsville were the first to make use of a hockey net.
In 1917 the Royal Flying Corps established a School of Aerial Fighting on the farmland immediately east of Beamsville. The school consisted of a camp, an airfield, and a gunnery range over Lake Ontario. Today an historical plaque at 4222 Saan Road marks the geographical centre of the 300 acre school property. The building adjacent to the plaque is an original hangar.
In 1970, the Town of Beamsville was amalgamated with Clinton Township and (half of) Louth Township 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