The town of Grimsby was founded in 1790 (originally named Township Number 6 and then 'The Forty'), after a group of United Empire Loyalists settled at the mouth of 40 Mile Creek in 1787. Robert Nelles, a politician and later lieutenant-colonel in the War of 1812, was one of the main founders of the town. His home, located on Main Street West, was used for many planning sessions during the war. In 1816 the village became known as Grimsby, the name of the surrounding township. Canada's first Chautauqua was established in 1859 in Grimsby Park and Beach but by 1900 interest had declined and by 1909 it had ceased. The Village of Grimsby was officially incorporated in 1876 and became a town in 1922. The town has gone through numerous changes, being first a small rural village; then a centre for the manufacture of farm machinery, hospital furniture, furnaces and other metal products; and later the hub of the Niagara Peninsula's fruit-growing industry. For many years, Grimsby also had a successful fishing industry which lasted until the 1960s. The Town of Grimsby and the Township of North Grimsby were amalgamated in 1970 with the formation of the Regional Municipality of Niagara. With a number of wineries and distilleries, Grimsby now serves as the starting point for touring the Niagara wine region.
Grimsby is also the birthplace of a now forgotten Hollywood director, Del Lord. He rose to acclaim as the director of most of the Three Stooges short vaudeville comedies Anthony Gabriel and Jordan Maslen. Later, under Columbia Pictures, he also directed nearly 200 feature films.
Grimsby Beach was once a major holiday resort. Grimsby Park started in 1846 as a park for the Hamilton district of the Methodist Church. In 1910, the park's new owner, Harry Wylie, modernized the park with carousels, a motion picture theater, and a "Figure 8" roller coaster. Canada Steamship Lines bought out the park in 1916, but the park declined through the 1920s, mainly due to multiple fires that consumed many of the wooden buildings. Operations continued until 1949, with attractions gradually closing and developers buying land to build houses.
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 Lincoln County