History--19th and early 20th centuries
Brampton, originally in Chinguacousy Township in Peel County, came into existence in 1834 when John Elliott laid out the area into lots for sale and named the place for Brampton, Cumbria in England. It was incorporated as a village in 1852, and as a town in 1873.
Prior to the 1834, the only building of consequence at the corner of Main and Queen streets, the recognized centre of Brampton, was William Buffy's tavern. At the time, the area was referred to as "Buffy's Corners". All real business in Chinguacousy Township took place 1 mile distant at Martin Salisbury's tavern.
In 1853 Brampton was incorporated as a village. At the same time, a small agricultural fair was set up by the then-new County Agricultural Society of the County of Peel, and was held at the corner of Main and Queen streets. Grains, produce, roots, and dairy products were up for sale. Horses and cattle, along with other lesser livestock, were also sold at market. This agricultural fair eventually became the modern Brampton Fall Fair.
A federal grant allowed the village to create its first public library in 1887, which included 360 volumes from the Mechanic's Institute (est 1858). In 1907, the library successfully received a grant from United States steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to build a new multi-purpose building, featuring what is now the Brampton Library.
Brampton was once known as The Flower Town of Canada, a title it earned due to the city's large greenhouse industry. This included Dale's Flowers, a company that won many international rose awards for nearly half a century. The founder, Edward Dale, was an immigrant from Dorking, England, who established a flower nursery in Brampton shortly after his arrival in 1863.
Harmsworth Decorating Centre was established in 1890, as Harmsworth and Son, operated out of the family's house on Queen Street West. The current location was purchased on September 1, 1904, after a fire destroyed their original store. Purchased for $1,400, the 24 Main Street South location is the longest-operating retail business in what is now Brampton.
Today, the city's major economic sectors include advanced manufacturing, retail administration and logistics, information and communication technologies, food and beverage, life sciences and business services.
Late 20th Century Developments
Since the formation of the Regional Municipality of Peel in the early 1970s, Brampton has been its principal city.
The City of Brampton is also one of the three municipalities making up the regional municipality. When the county reorganization occurred the Town of Bramalea merged with Brampton as did the northern section of Toronto Gore Township. Brampton now borders with Mississauga on the south.
The northern section of Chinguacousy Township, the part north of the town limits of Brampton at that time, merged with the townships of Caledon and Albion to form the municipality called the Town of Caledon.
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
The Halton-Peel Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the pages of Peel GenWeb both provide useful information on Peel County, its people and communities. The Brampton Public Library, mentioned above, has an excellent family history collection.