Port Perry is a village or town of just under 10,000 people located at the southern end of Lake Scugog. It was incorporated as a village in 1871 and currently serves as the administrative and commercial centre for the Township of Scugog in Durham Region. Port Perry serves as a hub for many small communities in the area of Lake Scugog, such as Greenbank, Prince Albert, Raglan in the former Reach Township and Nestleton/Nestleton Station in the former Cartwright Township.
The area around Port Perry was first surveyed as part of Reach Township by Major S. Wilmot in 1809. The first settler in the area was Reuben Crandell, a United Empire Loyalist who built a homestead with his wife in May 1821. Their original home is still in use and can be seen on King Street between Prince Albert and Manchester. In November 1821, Lucy Ann Crandell became the first child of European descent born in the area. In 1831, Crandell and his family moved to a homestead at what became Crandell's Corners (later called Borelia). It had its own Post Office, near the present-day junction of Queen Street and Highway 7A.
Settler Peter Perry laid out village lots on the shore of Lake Scugog in 1848 on the site of a former native village known as Scugog Village. The townsite was named Port Perry in 1852 and its first Postmaster was Joseph Bigelow. It was incorporated as a village in 1871. At the time there was an intense rivalry between Port Perry and two nearby towns, Prince Albert and Manchester. Expecting great things for "his" town, Peter Perry predicted that goats would eat grass off of Prince Albert's main street.
At the time, Prince Albert sat astride a planked toll road running south to Whitby. Grain and lumber from areas throughout the area south-east of Lake Simcoe fed through Prince Albert, which was a major grain trading area. Perry and others in Port Perry felt a railway was a much better option, and Perry's prediction would eventually come true.
A group of local businessmen started the process of bringing the railway to the town in 1867, and the first train on the Port Whitby and Port Perry Railway reached the terminus in Port Perry in 1872. Cargo from all over northern Ontario was shipped via the Trent-Severn Waterway to Port Perry via Lake Scugog, and then via the railway to Whitby, where it could be loaded onto the CP or CN mainlines running along the shore of Lake Ontario, or onto ships in Port Whitby. Businesses quickly moved out of Prince Albert and moved to Port Perry, leaving Prince Albert effectively a suburb of Port Perry today.
The village was amalgamated with Cartwright, Reach and Scugog Townships to form the Township of Scugog in 1974 upon the creation of the Regional Municipality of Durham.
An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected at the Scugog Shores Museum by the province to commemorate Jimmy Frise's role in Ontario's heritage.
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 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.
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 Ancestry.ca, but it is free-to-view.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Ontario County