This article is about the original village or town of Markham. The present City of Markham was previously a township and is found under Markham Township.
The following section is based on an article in Wikipedia.
The Nineteenth Century
The original group of settlers to come to the Markham Village area were Pennsylvania Dutch, most of whom were Mennonites. These highly skilled craftsmen and knowledgeable farmers were able to settle the region and founded Reesorville, named after the settler Joseph Reesor. In 1825, Reesorville was renamed Markham.
In 1851 Markham Village "was a considerable village, containing between eight and nine hundred inhabitants, pleasantly situated on the Rouge River. It contains two grist mills ... a woollen factory, oatmeal mill, barley mill, and distillery, foundry, two tanneries, brewery, etc., a temperance hall and four churches... ." (source: C.P. Mulvany, et al., "The Village of Markham," History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario)
In 1871 the Toronto and Nipissing Railway built the first rail line to Markham Village and Unionville permitting a direct rail link with Toronto for passengers and freight.
The Twentieth Century
Throughout much of Markham's history, the community has been described as agricultural. A turn towards a more urbanized community within the township began after WW2 when the township had began to feel the effects of urban encroachment from Toronto. The completion of Highway 404, a superhighway extending out from the centre of Toronto, during the mid 1970s further accelerated urban development in Markham.
Markham today is mainly driven by tertiary industry. Business services is currently the number one employer with nearly 22% of its labour force employed in it. The town also currently has over 800 technology and life sciences companies, with IBM being the town's largest employer.
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