Originally known as Township D, it was established in 1792. In 1800, it became part of Carleton County and was incorporated as a township in 1850. The first settler in the township was Jehiel Collins, from Vermont, who settled in an area near the Ottawa River which later became part of Bytown. Over the years, parts of Nepean Township were annexed by the expanding city of Ottawa. The original town hall of the township of Nepean was located in Westboro, which became part of Ottawa in 1949. A new town hall was built in Bells Corners in 1966. Nepean was incorporated as a city in 1978 and became part of the amalgamated city of Ottawa in 2001.
According to the Canada 2001 Census, the Township (original boundaries) had a population of 339,708.
The 1850 boundaries of Nepean Township were the Ottawa River on the north, the Rideau River on the east, approximately along where Bankfield Road and Brophy Drive are today on the south, and approximately where Eagleson Road, March Road, and Hertzberg Road are today through to Shirleys Bay on the west. The township included much of what is now Ottawa, all of the former City of Nepean, and parts of the former City of Kanata. To the west of Nepean Township was Goulbourn and March Townships, to the east Gloucester Township, and to the south North Gower Township.
A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb gives a more visible outline of the townships.
The map of Carleton 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.)
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
Researching in Eastern Ontario
The website of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society offers a number of search engines for databases of material they maintain:
The Society covers the counties of Carleton (combined with the city of Ottawa), Lanark, Renfrew, Prescott and Russell. There is a note on the website that the URL will be changing soon (Jun 2012). It may be best to “google” the Ottawa Branch of OGS.