Hope Township was first settled in 1793 by United Empire Loyalists who named the township after Colonel Henry Hope, lieutenant governor of the Province of Quebec.
Hope Township was originally one of the six townships of Durham County, but in the 1974 reorganization it was merged with Northumberland County. The two counties had previously been united for municipal administration under the name the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham.
On January 1, 2001, Hope Township amalgamated with the town of Port Hope located at its southeastern corner to form the Municipality of Port Hope and Hope, which was renamed to the simpler Port Hope in November of that same year. Prior to amalgamation, the town's census population was listed as 11,718 while the township's was 3,877.
Besides Port Hope other communities within the municipality include: Campbellcroft, Canton, Dale, Davidson's Corners, Decker Hollow (ghost town), Elizabethville, Garden Hill, Knoxville, Morrish, Osaca, Perrytown, Port Britain, Rossmount, Thomstown, Welcome, Wesleyville and Zion.
A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb gives a more visible outline of the townships of Durham prior to the alterations of 1974.
The Archives of Ontario provide a map of the original Durham County, Ontario.
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 Durham County
Some websites with more local information on Northumberland County