Lambton County is located in the southwestern corner of the Canadian province of Ontario. Although Sarnia is by far the largest urban community in the county, the county seat is in the Town of Plympton-Wyoming.
Lambton County started as a part of the District of Hesse (renamed Western District in 1792). The district of Hesse included all the British territories west of Long Point on Lake Erie, or practically all of western Ontario. The district was divided into counties (Essex, Suffolk, Kent). Lambton was originally part of Kent County. In 1849 the district system of government was abolished and the County of Lambton started life as in a union with Kent and Essex Counties. In 1852 the partnership was dissolved and Lambton become a full county. It is named in honour of the Earl of Durham who lived in Lambton Castle. (Source: London Free Press, July 15, 1939, by W.G. Trestain)
The largest city in Lambton County is Sarnia, which is located at the mouth of the St. Clair River. The two Blue Water Bridges cross the river at Sarnia, connecting it to Port Huron, Michigan. The bridges are one of the busiest border crossings between the United States and Canada. The river is also traversed by two passenger ferries further south, and a rail tunnel, also at Sarnia, runs underneath it. The CN rail tunnel accommodates double-stacked rail cars.
Lambton County was the site of North America's first drilled commercial oil well at Oil Springs, Ontario in 1858. Although oil is no longer drilled in the area, petrochemical and refining continue to be the largest manufacturing sector in the county's economy. Established during World War 2, Sarnia and the area along the St. Clair River is home to a major processing centre for oil from Alberta.
In late 2010 and early 2011 a number of companies announced plans to provide ethane from the Marcellus Shale in the USA to Lambton County industries; providing a potential new feedstock for the production of ethylene in Lambton County.
Lambton County has 2,346 farms with a total of 592,793 acres. Arable crops take up 85% of total farmland. Over the last 20 years soybeans, wheat, and grain corn have accounted for over 80% of total area crop production in Lambton. The fourth and fifth leading crops are sugar beets and hay. Among other crops oats, barley and mixed grains are also produced. Top animal production includes dairy, beef, hog, and poultry.
Lambton changed from the old township structure to the new municipality structure of local government in 2001. The new municipalities are as follows:
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
Some websites with more local information on Lambton County