The map of Glengarry County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the communities and physical features of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)
A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb gives a more visible outline of the townships.
The area was originally settled in 1792 as part of the historic Glengarry County in which many Scottish emigrants settled from all over the Scottish Highlands due to the Highland Clearances. This first wave of heavy migration lasted till 1816, emigration still continued afterwards into the early 20th century but in a slower pace. Many of these migrants came from the Inverness-shire area of Scotland specifically. Canadian Gaelic / Scottish Gaelic has been a spoken language in the area for over four centuries. Kenyon, which was part of Charlottenburgh Township until 1798, was named for British judge and politician Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon, and Lochiel, which was part of Lancaster Township until 1818, was named for the Lochiels of Clan Cameron.
Development in the region was significantly spurred by the development of a railway link between Ottawa and Montreal in the early 1880s. Maxville, Alexandria and Glen Robertson, in particular, became key railway hubs for farmers in the area.
Maxville was first incorporated as a village separate from Kenyon Township in 1892, and Alexandria was separated from Lochiel Township in the early 1900s.
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 Glengarry County