Place:Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada

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NameLeeds and Grenville
Alt namesLeeds and Grenville United Counties
Leeds and Grenvillesource: WeRelate abbreviation
TypeCounty
Located inOntario, Canada     (1850 - )
Also located inUpper Canada, Canada     (1792 - 1841)
Canada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
See alsoEastern District, Upper Canada, Canadaadministrative district 1792-1800
Johnstown District, Upper Canada, Canadaadministrative district 1800-1849
Grenville, Ontario, CanadaCounty united to form Leeds and Grenville
Leeds, Ontario, CanadaCounty united to form Leeds and Grenville


The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville are located Ontario, Canada. The population, as of the 2006 census, was 99,206. The United Counties have a land area of 3,383.92 square kilometres (1,306.54 sq mi). Leeds and Grenville are located in the the southern part of Eastern Ontario, and front on the St. Lawrence River--the international boundary between Canada and the United States. The county seat is Brockville.

Until 1824 the County of Lanark was a part of Leeds County.

History

Both Leeds and Grenville were first organized as counties in 1792 as sections of the Eastern District of Upper Canada. In 1800 the Eastern District was split because distances and administration work was too great and Leeds and Grenville became part of the new Johnstown District.

Leeds took its name from Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds (that is the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England). Grenville was named in honour of William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, Secretary of State in 1790.

The first settlers were Loyalist from the United States who arrived as early as 1784-- many were recently disbanded officers and soldiers from serving British army companies after the Revolutionary War.

Western Leeds County was opened for settlement in 1788 and in the 1790s the "rear" townships were opened. Settlement was slow until after the war of 1812 when disbanded soldiers and British emigrants settled in the area. A majority of the British emigrants were from Scotland and arrived in 1816. Even more settlement occurred during the 1820's after the construction of the Rideau Canal.

A detailed history of the Leeds and Grenville area can be found on the Wikipedia page for Brockville, the principal town of the two counties.

In 1849-50 the District system of administration was abolished and Leeds and Grenville Counties were formed into the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. At this point the province of Ontario was known as Canada West. It was to remain with this name until Canadian Confederation in 1867 when it took the name Ontario.

Townships and Municipalities

The original townships of Leeds county were

and the original townships of Grenville were

Since 1998, when Leeds and Grenville was restructured into a lesser number of "townships" or "municipalities", the list for the two counties is as follows:

Separated from the county administration are

The new townships will be described as municipalities in the List of Contained Places.

The map of Leeds County circa 1951 and the map of Grenville County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual townships, towns and villages. A handy rule of thumb: Leeds is on the left when looking from Lake Ontario.

Research Tips

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.

Early Records

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.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The latest year published is not yet available online. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.

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.

Censuses

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.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can view censuses on microfilm at the Archives of Ontario or at big libraries throughout Canada.

E-books and Books

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.

Some websites with more local information on Leeds and Grenville Counties

  • The Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has a list of publications available.
  • A large number of historic Voters' Lists from Ontario communities for the latter part of the 19th century can be found on Internet Archive. Amongst these is what appears to be a complete set for Leeds and Grenville. Add "voters" and the township or town to the search box to find what is available.
  • The Internet Archive has a very large collection of Ontario references.