The text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia.
Peterborough is a city on the Otonabee River in southern Ontario, Canada, 125 kilometres or 78 miles northeast of Toronto. It is the administrative centre for the County of Peterborough which surrounds it.
It was named in honour of Peter Robinson, an early Canadian politician who oversaw the first major immigration to the area. Peterborough was incorporated as a town in 1850, with a population of 2,191. Including its suburban are it had a population of over 118,000 in 2011 (the latest census year).
The text in this section is a condensation of an article in Wikipedia.
First Nations groups followed retreating glaciers into the area 11,000 years ago. Woodland Natives inhabited the area circa 1000 BC to AD 1000, followed by Iroquois and Mississaugas circa 1740.
In 1615, Samuel de Champlain travelled through the area, coming down from Lake Chemong and portaging down a trail, which is approximated by present day Chemong Road, to the Otonabee River and stayed for a brief time near the present-day site of Bridgenorth, just north of Peterborough.
In 1818, Adam Scott settled on the west shore of the Otonabee River. The following year he began construction of a sawmill and gristmill, establishing the area as Scott's Plains. The mill was located at the foot of present-day King Street and was powered by water from Jackson Creek.
The year 1825 marked the arrival of 1,878 Irish immigrants from the city of Cork. In 1822, the British Parliament had approved an experimental emigration plan to transport poor Irish families to Upper Canada. The scheme was managed by Peter Robinson, at the time a politician in York (present-day Toronto). Scott's Plains was renamed Peterborough in his honour.
Beginning in the late 1850s, a substantial canoe building industry grew up in and around Peterborough. The Peterborough Canoe Company was founded in 1893, with the factory being built on the site of the original Adam Scott mill. By 1930, 25% of all employees in the boat building industry in Canada worked in the Peterborough area. The period from 1928–36 saw the establishment of the Johnson Motor Company/Outboard Marine (the makers of motorised boat engines) as an outgrowth of the original industry.
Peterborough would also see extensive industrial growth as the city was one of the first places in the country to begin generating hydro electrical power (even before the plants at Niagara Falls). Companies like Edison General Electric Company (later Canadian General Electric) and America Cereal Company (later to become Quaker Oats, and in 2001 PepsiCo, Inc.), opened to take advantage of this new cheap resource.
Progress of Peterborough into the 20th century can be found in Peterborough, Ontario
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 Peterborough County