Goderich is a town in the Canadian Province of Ontario and is the county seat of Huron County. The town was founded by William "Tiger" Dunlop in 1827. First laid out in 1828, the town is named after Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich, who was British prime minister at the time. The town was officially incorporated in 1850.
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron at the mouth of the Maitland River, Goderich is notable for its sunsets. As of the Canada 2011 Census, the population is 7,521. The area of the town is 7.91 square kilometres.
The salt mining industry in Goderich is one of its primary industries. In 1866 a petroleum exploration crew headed by prospector Sam Platt discovered rock salt 300 metres beneath Goderich Harbour. (This was at the time when petroleum had recently been discovered near Sarnia at the southern end of Lake Huron and its importance was just beginning to be understood.) In 1880 the process of harvesting salt began and the industry today is in the hands of Sifto Canada. The mine is the largest underground salt quarry in the world, being 1,750ft below surface and covering an area of 7 sq km under Lake Huron.
A road grader manufacturing plant was started by Champion Road Equipment in the 1950s and purchased by AB Volvo in the 1990s. Volvo decided to move the manufacture to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania in 2008 and the plant was completely closed in 2010.
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 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.
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.
E-books and Books
Websites with more local information on Huron County