Richmond Hill (2011 population 185,541) is a town located in Southern Ontario, Canada in the central portion of York Region, Ontario. It is part of the Greater Toronto Area, being located about halfway between Toronto and Lake Simcoe. It is bounded by Bloomington Rd. (Aurora town limit) to the north, York Regional Road 7 (Vaughan city limit west of Yonge St., Markham city limit east of Yonge St.) to the south, Bathurst St. (Vaughan city limit) to the west, and Ontario Highway 404 (Markham city limit) to the east. Its southern limit is about 4 kilometres (3 miles) north of the Toronto city limit, Steeles Avenue, and approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the downtown core of Toronto. The town extends 14 kilometres north-south and 7 kilometres east-west. It is the third most populous municipality in York Region and the 28th most populous municipality in Canada.
Once considered the "Rose Capital of the World", Richmond Hill has in recent years seen a huge population upsurge, being Canada's fastest-growing community in the 1990s. The town is home to the world-renowned David Dunlap Observatory telescope, at one time the second largest telescope in the world, and still the largest in Canada. It is twinned with Lakeland, Florida.
Ontario GenWeb has a sketchmap of the original townships of York County and York GenWeb provides another sketchmap of the equivalent municipalities in York Region (established 1971). Note that after 1971 the boundaries of the towns of Newmarket, Aurora and Richmond Hill are defined. These towns were all separately incorporated from the townships many years before that date, but none would have had such a large geographical footprint.
The map of York County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual municipalities, townships, city, towns and villages of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)
Richmond Hill's history goes back to 1800, perhaps before. Unfortunately the Richmond Hill article at Wikipedia gives no facts from before 1971. The article needs to be written by someone much closer to sources than myself. --goldenoldie 14:19, 13 August 2012 (EDT)
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