NOTE: Portsmouth may have always been considered to be part of the City of Kingston.
Portsmouth Village is a neighbourhood located in downtown Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The district is bounded by Johnson Street to the north, Portsmouth Avenue to the west, Lake Ontario to the south, and Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard to the east. The village was founded in 1784 by United Empire Loyalists and began to grow with the establishment of Kingston Penitentiary nearby in 1833, and was formally incorporated in 1858. A town hall was created by William Coverdale in 1865 and is used today by various special interest clubs. The shoreline was soon home to numerous tanneries, numerous breweries including Molson and Labatt, shipyards, sawmills, and the nearby penitentiary and asylum. The penitentiary, Kingston Penitentiary, and asylum are the only establishments from this era that remain today.
Economic opportunities declined at the turn of the 20th century and the village was annexed by the city of Kingston in 1952. Portsmouth Village is home to Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, which held the yachting and boating events of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Today the area retains its historic village feel while being a part of the city of Kingston. Numerous amenities are available including a school, arena, Providence Continuing Care Centre, and several historic churches and parks. There are also numerous local businesses along King Street West. The north-eastern portion of Portsmouth is home to the West Campus of Queen's University, as well as Richardson Memorial Stadium, home of the Queen's Golden Gaels.
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 Frontenac County