Place:Frontenac, Ontario, Canada

Alt namesFrontenac County
Frontenacsource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates44.7°N 76.75°W
Located inOntario, Canada     (1792 - )
Also located inUpper Canada, Canada     (1792 - 1841)
Canada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
See alsoMidland District, Upper Canada, Canada1788-1849

Ontario GenWeb provided the details for this article and an outline map of the original townships.

The map of Frontenac County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual townships, city, towns and villages of the district.

History and Organization

Frontenac County is located in eastern portion of southern Ontario where Lake Ontario empties into the St Lawrence River. It was one of the 19 original counties established along with Upper Canada in 1788. It was in the Midland District until the District system of administration was abolished in 1849 and counties replaced them as the local layer of government. The county town was Kingston.

Frontenac County was established in 1792 and named for Count Frontenac, Governor of New France who sailed up from Quebec and built a fort in 1673. Settlement grew around the fort until 1758 when it was captured by the British during the Seven Years War. It was then deserted until the 1780s.

The area was surveyed in 1783 and named King's Township. Soon after the first British settlers arrived in the form of "disbandees of Captain Grass' Company of Associated Loyalists, Kings Royal Regiment of New York, Regulat, British and German. Total 220 persons in 1783." (source: Place Names of Ontario by Floreen Carter, 1984)

"Frontenac County can claim to have been the site of the first settlement by white men in what is now the Province of Ontario since the missionary settlement in Huronia in the 1640's." (source: Places In Ontario by Nick & Helma Mika, 1977)

There were 18 townships in 1850, namely

The town, now city, of Kingston was separately incorporated.

Frontenac County went through its municipal restructuring and amalgamations in 1998. Its townships were grouped and reduced to four, namely,

These new townships will be described as municipalities in the list of Contained Places in Frontenac. By far the majoritiy of references will concern the townships.

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 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.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The latest year published is not yet available online. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.

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.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can view censuses on microfilm at the Archives of Ontario or at big libraries throughout Canada.

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.

The Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has a list of publications and may be of help in searching local material.

source: Family History Library Catalog