Prior to the formation of Clarington in 1974, Orono was located in Clarke Township in Durham County.
The town was founded in 1832. A post office was opened at Orono in July 1852 (postmaster: Joseph Tucker), when the village contained about 200 residents, and was named after Orono, Maine since the landscape seemed similar. The name for the post office is said to have been selected in 1852 when a visitor from Maine suggested Orono — the name of a town near Bangor, Maine. Declared a police village in 1854, the village remained small but vibrant. Significant to the village's growth in the opening decades of the twentieth century was the arrival of the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway in 1911. Farming was, and remains, an important economic activity in the area. Many motorists stopped in the town on their way from Lindsay to Newcastle before Highway 35/115 was built. The population is approximately 1800.
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 Durham County