Brooklin is a community in the town of Whitby, Ontario, Canada. It is located north of the urban area of Whitby, at the south junction of Ontario Highways 12 and 7. It is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Brooklin is located primarily in a rural area, with hills covering the north and the west. The hills and forests that dominate the north are part of the Oak Ridges Moraine. About 40 to 50 percent of the area of the hills are made up of forests. The population has grown steadily since the early 1990s, with the addition of thousands of homes surrounding the heart of Brooklin.
The area around Brooklin began to be settled in the 1820s. The community itself grew after 1840, when brothers John & Robert Campbell built a flour mill on Lynde Creek. (The present mill building was built in 1848 after a lightning fire destroyed the original.) The village was originally named Winchester, but renamed when the post office was established to avoid duplication with a village named Winchester in eastern Ontario. In 1847, the residents chose to rename the community Brooklin, possibly from Brooklyn, New York or Brooklin, Maine. It could have been named for the "brook" that ran through the town, but this waterway has always been described as a "creek", and naming the village after a community in New England or New York is logical since several prominent early residents migrated from there.
Prominent people from Brooklin include John Dryden (1840–1909), long-serving agriculture minister of the Province of Ontario. While a government minister, Dryden created the northwestern Ontario experimental farm that eventually led to the formation of the town of Dryden.
Housing developments arrived in the late 1950s with the Meadowcrest subdivision, which expanded the village to the west of Baldwin Street. For several decades after this, there was no further major house construction and Meadowcrest was known colloquially as "The Subdivision". Housing activity resumed in the mid-1990s east of the village between Queen Street and Thickson Road with the Village of Brooklin subdivision, and continued into the late-1990s with further developments to the southeast. Housing developments reached Ashburn Road to the west in 2000, the development featuring a decorativepond, and the Olde Winchester subdivision was begun east of Thickson in 2001. It is expected that the population of the village will reach 90,000 residents by 2015.
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 1915 are now available [October 2014]; 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, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1911. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited. The 1921 census is only available through Ancestry.ca, but it is free-to-view.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Ontario County