Simcoe Island is an island west of Wolfe Island in the St Lawrence River in Frontenac County in Ontario, Canada. Since 1999 Simcoe Island has been located in the municipality of Township of Central Frontenac.
Simcoe Island is a small island in Lake Ontario, just off Wolfe Island, close to Kingston, Ontario, and Amherst Island. The island in almost completely farmland and can be reached by ferry from Wolfe Island. Part of Frontenac County, it forms the township of Frontenac Islands, Ontario with Wolfe Island and Howe Island, together with smaller, privately owned islands, Garden Island and Horseshoe Island.
In 1792, scant months after the partition of Quebec into the provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada, Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe named the archipelago at the mouth of the St. Lawrence river for the victorious Generals at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham: James Wolfe, Jefferey Amherst, William Howe, Guy Carleton and Thomas Gage. The last is now known as Simcoe Island.
Although the island was originally named Isle de Foret ("Forest Island") by early French settlers, most of the trees on the island have been removed for farming, with the exception of small isolated forests and trees. The name Gage Island was also used for a period of time. The name Simcoe was given to the island in honour of John Graves Simcoe.
The two main points of interest on the island are the cable ferry, one of the smallest in Ontario (holding a maximum of three cars), and the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse, accessible by the island's only main dirt road, Nine Mile Point Road. The lighthouse was built in 1833 and is an "Imperial" style light 40 feet high. Originally, this light was manually operated, but it is now fully automated. It is now a federal heritage building, and the graveyard of many ships sunk off the point, including the Comet, a paddle steamer from the United States, the Aloha, a 171-foot-long vessel, and the Effie Mae, which collided with the Aloha.
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 Frontenac County