Huron County is county of the Province of Ontario, Canada. It is located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, in the southwest part of the province. It has a population of just under 60,000 (2011). The county seat is Goderich which is also the county's largest settlement.
Huron County was established in 1835 but had been settled for awhile by then. "John Galt, superintendent of the Canada Company, is considered to be the founder of Huron County. The Huron Tract, which contained one million acres on the southeast shore of Lake Huron, was purchased by a group of British speculators incorporated under the name of Canada Company, on August 19, 1826. It was this company that was responsible for opening the area to settlers." (source: Places In Ontario by Nick & Helma Mika, 1977)
Most of the early settlers were from Scotland, as well as some of German origin from Pennsylvania.
As described above Huron was opened up later than counties facing Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. It would have been considered Crown Land until the Canada Company made their purchase. Once it came under government administration in 1835 it was part of the London District. The London District was broken into two in 1841 and Huron County then became the Huron District until the district system of administration was abolished in 1849-50 from which time it was organized as a county.
The county was divided into townships (listed under Contained Places) until 2001 when the administration was reorganized into municipalities, some of which were made up of groups of townships.
The map of Huron County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual townships, city, towns and villages of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)
A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb provides a simple illustration of the location of the townships.
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
Websites with more local information on Huron County