Place:Columbus, Ontario, Ontario, Canada

Alt namesEnglish Corners
Coordinates43.983°N 78.911°W
Located inOntario, Ontario, Canada     ( - 1974)
Also located inDurham, Ontario, Canada     (1974 - present)
See alsoEast Whitby, Ontario, Ontario, Canadatownship in which Columbus was located until 1974
Oshawa, Durham, Ontario, Canadamunicipality in which Columbus located since 1974

Columbus is a "compact rural community" formerly located in the Township of East Whitby in Ontario County, Ontario. Since the municipal reorganization of 1974 it has been located in the City of Oshawa in the Regional Municipality of Durham. It has a current population (2011) of approximately 325.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The first settlers to the village in 1830 were surnames such as: Adams, Ashton, Roberts, Clark, Grass, Power, Perreman, Wilcoxson and others; of Irish descent were the Howden brothers. The community was first known as English Corners because most of the land was sold to people of some wealth, most of whom were English. When the post office was established in 1847, the community was named Columbus, possibly after the 15th century explorer Christopher Columbus. Its first postmaster was Robert Skirving.

In 1853, the first council for the Township of East Whitby was formed, and the first reeve was John Ratcliffe. From this point in time on to 1870 the village grew to over 300 inhabitants. The village had: a township hall, 4 churches, blacksmiths, a post office, an Orange Hall, stores, carpenters, shoe shops, tailors, dressmakers, mills, asheries, copper shops, a tannery, a furniture factory, a harness shop, and 4 hotels.

Electricity first came to the area in 1883, just west of Columbus at the village of Empire Mills. Electricity came to Columbus later in 1919, with street lights added by 1928.

The Columbus (English Corners) website gives a tremendous amount of information about the village and its people in the mid 19th century.

Research Tips

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.

Early Records

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.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

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, but it is free-to-view.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books and Books

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.

Some websites with more local information on Ontario County

The Columbus (English Corners) website gives a tremendous amount of information about the village and its people in the mid 19th century.

source: Family History Library Catalog
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Columbus, Ontario. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.