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Embrun is the largest community in the municipality of Russell Township in Prescott and Russell United Counties, Ontario, Canada.
The town has a French speaking majority, with a significant English-speaking minority. According to the 2006 Census, 57% of Embrun's population speaks French at home, while 41% speak English at home. The remaining 2% speak either both languages equally, or speak a non-official language.
The first residents of Embrun settled the town in 1845. François Michel named the town in 1857 after Embrun, France. The town's early economy was based on lumber, as the area was heavily forested and the soils too moist for good agriculture. In the 1870s, however, with deforestation and the advent of land drainage technologies, agriculture replaced lumber as Embrun's main industry. The town grew rapidly in the late 19th century, a trend accelerated by the advent of the railway in 1898.
The 20th century, however, brought a change in direction. Three events happened which harmed Embrun's economy significantly and resulted in population decline. First was the Great Depression in the 1930s and the associated decline in agriculture. Secondly, in the 1950s and 1960s, as with most other small towns across North America, Embrun suffered rural depopulation as its young people left the town to seek education and employment in urban areas. The third blow was the closure of the railway line in 1957.
By the end of the 20th century the town has grown again.
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 Prescott and Russell Counties