Cumberland was a township in eastern Ontario, Canada, that existed from 1800 to 1999, when it was incorporated as the City of Cumberland. It ceased to be a separate municipality in 2001, when it was amalgamated into the city of Ottawa.
Cumberland was originally incorporated as a township in 1800 as part of Russell County. It took its name from the Duke of Cumberland later (King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover). When an upper-tier Regional level of government was created in 1969 to replace neighbouring Carleton County, the township was removed from Russell County and incorporated into the new Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.
The township comprised the eastern portion of the suburban Orléans area, and the communities of Cumberland (a village with the same name as the township), Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Sarsfield, Vars, Carlsbad Springs and Navan.
Almost 200 years after it was first incorporated, Cumberland became a city in 1999. City status was short-lived, however, as the municipality was amalgamated with Ottawa and all the other constituent municipalities of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton to form a new City of Ottawa in 2001.
A memorial stands in front of St. Andrews United Church, dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War.
Cumberland now forms part of Ottawa. The largest portion of the former municipality now forms Cumberland Ward, and is represented at Ottawa City Council. Most of the suburban neighbourhood of Orléans, which straddled the former boundary between Cumberland and the city of Gloucester, has been split off from Cumberland and Gloucester and is now joined in Orléans and Innes Wards. Thus, Cumberland Ward is now primarily rural in nature, made up of historic villages that now comprise bedroom communities of Ottawa.
A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb gives a more visible outline of the townships.
The map of Carleton County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the communities and physical features of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)
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
Researching in Eastern Ontario
The website of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society offers a number of search engines for databases of material they maintain:
The Society covers the counties of Carleton (combined with the city of Ottawa), Lanark, Renfrew, Prescott and Russell. There is a note on the website that the URL will be changing soon (Jun 2012). It may be best to “google” the Ottawa Branch of OGS.