Originally known as Four Corners and Steene's Corners after an early settler, much of the area of what is now Seaforth was acquired by brothers Christopher and George Sparling in anticipation of the construction of the Buffalo, Brantford and Goderich Railway. Developer James Patton of Barrie purchased the land and laid out a townsite in 1855.
In many ways, Seaforth is the quintessential small Ontario town. The Victorian streetscape stands as a testament to the town's rich history and all the image and influences that make rural Ontario and its hierarchy of small urban centres so unique.
Seaforth's Main Street is a Provincially Designated Heritage Conservation District, and architectural critics consider it to be one of the finest late 19th century streetscapes remaining in the Province.
A post office was established in Seaforth in 1859. Incorporation as a Village followed in 1868 and as a Town in 1874. In 2001, Seaforth was amalgamated with Brussels, Grey Township, McKillop Township and Tuckersmith Township to form the Municipality of Huron East.
In September 1876, at two o'clock in the morning, a fire broke out in Mrs. Griffith's Candy and Grocery store raging through Main Street destroying of the business section. The town rebounded and Main Street was rebuilt with the brick and block structures which we see today, more than a century later.
Seaforth's Main street was designated in 1984 as a heritage Conservation District because of its distinguished late 19th-century architecture. This architectural composition of two storey brick buildings is unique in its uniformity of scale and character. Through grants and local support, property owners have been encouraged to restore and preserve the architectural characteristics of their buildings so that this valuable resource may continue to be an asset to the community in the years ahead, and be a comforting reminder of Seaforth's history.
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
Websites with more local information on Huron County