Place:Ontario, Ontario, Canada

Watchers
NameOntario
Alt namesOntario County
Ontario Co.
TypeCounty
Coordinates44.25°N 79.09°W
Located inOntario, Canada     (1852 - 1974)
Also located inUpper Canada, Canada     (1792 - 1841)
Canada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
See alsoHome District, Upper Canada, Canadaadministrative district 1800-1849
York, Ontario, Canadaunion of counties 1849-1852
Durham, Ontario, CanadaThe two counties merged in 1974
Contained Places
Hamlet
Ashburn ( - 1974 )
Brougham ( - 1974 )
Cherrywood ( - 1974 )
Coppin's Corners ( - 1974 )
Dungannon
Glasgow ( - 1974 )
Greenwood ( 1852 - 1974 )
Kinsale ( - 1974 )
Leaskdale ( - 1974 )
Longford Mills ( 1868 - 1974 )
Longford ( 1868 - 1974 )
Mariposa Beach ( 1852 - 1974 )
Mount Carmel ( - 1974 )
Myrtle ( - 1974 )
Pinedale ( - 1974 )
Point Mara
Raglan ( - 1974 )
Rathburn
Rosebank Station ( - 1974 )
Roseville ( - 1974 )
Sandford ( - 1974 )
Seagrave ( - 1974 )
Sebright ( - 1974 )
Siloam ( - 1974 )
Uptergrove ( - 1974 )
Utica ( - 1974 )
Victoria Corners ( - 1974 )
Wilfrid
Inhabited place
Ajax ( 1941 - 1974 )
Atherley ( 1852 - 1974 )
Beaverton ( 1852 - 1974 )
Brechin ( - 1974 )
Brooklin ( 1852 - 1974 )
Cannington ( 1852 - 1974 )
Claremont ( 1852 - 1974 )
Columbus ( - 1974 )
Dunbarton ( 1852 - 1974 )
Epsom ( 1852 - 1974 )
Fairport ( - 1974 )
Gamebridge ( 1852 - 1974 )
Goodwood ( - 1974 )
Green River ( 1852 - 1974 )
Greenbank ( 1852 - 1974 )
Manchester ( - 1974 )
Oshawa ( - 1974 )
Pickering Beach ( - 1974 )
Pickering ( - 1974 )
Port Perry ( - 1974 )
Port Whitby ( - 1974 )
Prince Albert ( - 1974 )
Smithtown ( - 1974 )
Sunderland ( - 1974 )
Udney ( - 1974 )
Udora ( - 1974 )
Uxbridge ( - 1974 )
Washago ( 1852 - 1974 )
Whitby ( - 1974 )
Whitevale ( - 1974 )
Zephyr ( - 1974 )
Locality
Millington ( - 1974 )
Seaton
Township
Brock ( 1849 - 1974 )
East Whitby ( 1852 - 1974 )
Mara ( 1852 - 1974 )
Pickering (township) ( 1852 - 1974 )
Rama ( 1852 - 1974 )
Reach ( 1852 - 1974 )
Scott ( 1852 - 1974 )
Scugog ( 1852 - 1974 )
Thorah ( 1852 - 1974 )
Uxbridge (township) ( 1852 - 1974 )
Whitby (township) ( 1852 - 1974 )
Uninhabited hamlet
Altona ( 1852 - 1974 )
Vroomanton ( - 1974 )
Village (former)
Borelia ( - 1974 )

Ontario County was a former county of Ontario, Canada. The area began to be settled before 1800, but it was not an administrative entity until 1852. Its proximity to Toronto and the richness of its farmland has continuously made it a popular place to live through the past two centuries.

During the 1970s the Province of Ontario began an undertaking to reorganize its administrative structure. One of the highlights of the changes was to remove the County of Ontario from the map and combine the better part of it with its eastern neighbour, Durham County, under the name The Regional Municipality of Durham, commonly known as Durham Region.

Image:DurhamRegion.png
Map from Wikimedia Commons

The two most northern townships of Ontario County, Rama and Mara), were transferred to Simcoe County. Many of the other townships merged to form new municipalities as described below.

History

Prior to 1853 Ontario County was part of York County within the Home District of Upper Canada or Canada West. It was established in 1849 as a section of York County but was not made into a county separate from York until 1853. However, its initial settlement, mostly by United Empire Loyalists, started before 1800.

In historical documents many places will be described as being in the County of Ontario. Entries before 1850 will refer to them being in the Home District. However, on present-day maps and gazetteers, these places will be within the boundaries of Durham Region.

For reference, there follows a list of new municipalities formed within Durham Region in 1974 together with their equivalents in the former Ontario County.

  • The Town of Whitby was the amalgamation of Whitby Township with the original Town of Whitby, independently incorporated but geographically within the township borders, merged with the township. Whitby is now the seat of the regional government of Durham.
  • The Town of Ajax was independently incorporated in 1955 and was surrounded by Pickering Township. In the reorganization it became a municipality within Durham Region.

A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb gives a more visible outline of the townships.

The map of Ontario 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.)

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 Ontario County ===
source: Family History Library Catalog