Place:Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada


Alt namesBytownsource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) VIII, 1044; Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 905
Coordinates45.417°N 75.717°W
Located inCarleton, Ontario, Canada     (1827 - present)
Contained Places
Beechwood Cemetery
Capital Memorial Gardens
Notre Dame Cemetery
Burritts Rapids ( 2001 - present )
Carlsbad Springs ( 2001 - )
Carsonby ( 2001 - )
Corkery ( 2001 - )
Dwyer Hill ( 2001 - )
Galetta ( 2001 - )
Woodlawn ( 2001 - )
Inhabited place
Ashton ( 2001 - present )
Bells Corners ( 2001 - present )
Billings Bridge ( 2001 - present )
Britannia ( 2001 - present )
Carp ( 2001 - present )
Cyrville ( 2001 - )
Edwards ( 2001 - present )
Fallowfield ( 2001 - present )
Fitzroy Harbour ( 2001 - )
Gloucester ( 2001 - present )
Greely ( 2001 - )
Hazeldean ( 2001 - present )
Huntley ( 2001 - present )
Kars ( 2001 - present )
Kenmore ( 2001 - present )
Kinburn ( 2001 - present )
Malakoff ( 2001 - present )
Manotick ( 2001 - present )
Marchhurst ( 2001 - present )
Merivale ( 2001 - present )
Metcalfe ( 2001 - present )
North Gower ( 2001 - present )
Osgoode ( 2001 - present )
Ramsayville ( 2001 - present )
Richmond ( 2001 - present )
Rockcliffe Park ( 2001 - present )
South Gloucester ( 2001 - present )
South March ( 2001 - present )
Spring Hill ( 2001 - present )
Stittsville ( 2001 - present )
Vanier ( 2001 - present )
Hawthorne ( 2001 - )
Kanata ( 2001 - present )
Orléans ( 2001 - present )
Osgoode ( 2001 - present )
Cumberland (township) ( 2001 - present )
Fitzroy ( 2001 - present )
Gloucester (township) ( 2001 - present )
Goulbourn ( 2001 - present )
Huntley (township) ( 2001 - present )
March ( 2001 - )
Marlborough ( 2001 - present )
Nepean ( 2001 - )
North Gower (township) ( 2001 - present )
Osgoode (township) ( 2001 - )
Rideau ( 2001 - )
Torbolton ( 2001 - present )
West Carleton ( 2001 - present )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

NOTE: Hintonburgh and Mechanicsville (mentioned in the Family History Library Catalog and redirected here) were neighbourhoods within Ottawa in the late 19th century.

The text in this section is a precis of an article in Wikipedia.

Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in southeastern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau (once known as the City of Hull), Quebec, located on the north bank of the river; together they form the National Capital Region.

The Rideau River and the Rideau Canal both flow from the south through the outlying townships/suburbs and then through the centre of Ottawa and into the Ottawa River. The construction of the Rideau Canal was significant in the growth of Bytown into Ottawa in the middle of the 19th century.

image:250px-Newottawamap.png Map of Ottawa and Carleton County from Wikipedia Commons


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Étienne Brûlé, the first European to travel up the Ottawa River, passed by Ottawa in 1610 on his way to the Great Lakes. Three years later, Samuel de Champlain wrote about the waterfalls of the area and about his encounters with the Algonquins, who had previously been using the Ottawa River for centuries. The Algonquins called the river Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi' meaning "Great River" or "Grand River". These early explorers were later followed by many missionaries.

Philemon Wright, a New Englander, created the first settlement in the area on 7 March 1800 on the north side of the river, across from Ottawa in Hull. He, with five other families and twenty-five labourers,[1] set about to create an agricultural community called Wrightsville. Wright pioneered the Ottawa Valley timber trade (soon to be the area's most significant economic activity) by transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Quebec City.

Bytown, Ottawa's early name, was founded in 1826 because of preliminary work on the Rideau Canal. Its construction was overseen by Colonel John By, and the canal was intended to provide a secure route between Montreal and Kingston on Lake Ontario by bypassing the stretch of the St. Lawrence River bordering New York State. Colonel By set up military barracks on the site of today's Parliament Hill. He also laid out the streets of town with its "Upper Town" and "Lower Town" separated by the canal. Bytown's population grew to 1,000 as the Rideau Canal was being completed in 1832. Bytown saw some trouble in its early days, first with the Shiners' War from 1835 to 1845 and the Stony Monday Riot in 1849. Bytown was renamed Ottawa in 1855, when it was incorporated as a city.

On 31 December 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada, and she chose Ottawa. The Queen's advisers suggested she pick Ottawa for several reasons: Ottawa's position in the back country made it more defensible, while still allowing easy transportation over the Ottawa River. Ottawa was at a point nearly exactly midway between Toronto and Quebec City. The smaller size of the town also made it less prone to rampaging politically motivated mobs, as had happened in the previous Canadian capitals.

Starting in the 1850s, large sawmills began to be erected by entrepreneurs known as lumber barons, and these would become some of the largest mills in the world. Rail lines erected in 1854 connected Ottawa to areas south and to the transcontinental rail network via Hull and Lachute, Quebec in 1886. Between 1910 and 1912, the Chateau Laurier and a downtown Union Station would be constructed. Public transportation began in 1870 with a horsecar system, overtaken in the 1890s by a vast electric streetcar system that would last until 1959. The Hull-Ottawa fire of 1900 destroyed two thirds of Hull, including 40 per cent of its residential buildings and most of its largest employers along the waterfront. The fire also spread across the Ottawa River and destroyed about one fifth of Ottawa from the Lebreton Flats south to Booth Street and down to Dow's Lake. The Centre Block of the Parliament buildings was destroyed by a fire on 3 February 1916. The House of Commons and Senate was temporarily relocated to the then recently constructed Victoria Memorial Museum, now the Canadian Museum of Nature until the completion of the new Centre Block in 1922, the centrepiece of which is a dominant Gothic revival styled structure known as the Peace Tower.

Urban planner Jacques Greber was hired in the 1940s to work on a master plan for the National Capital Region. Greber's plan included the creation of the National Capital Greenbelt and the Parkway System, and it also developed many other projects throughout the NCR. He was also responsible for the removal of the streetcar system and closing down historic downtown Union Station (now the Government Conference Centre) in favour of a suburban station several kilometres to the east. From the 1960s until the 1980s, the National Capital Region experienced a building boom. This was followed by large growth in the high-tech industry during the 1990s and 2000s. In 2001, in an amalgamation legislated by the Province, all twelve existing municipalities in the area were terminated and replaced by a new incorporation of the City of Ottawa.

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 1915 are now available [October 2014]; 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 FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.

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, known to Canadians as "LAC". Copies of original microfilms are online at the LAC website for all censuses up to 1911. Each census database is preceded with an explanation of the geographical area covered, the amount of material retained (some census division material has been lost), the questions on the census form, and whether there is a name index. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited. The 1921 census is only available through, but it is free-to-view.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large 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.

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.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Ottawa. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.