Stittsville is a suburban community in the western part of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located immediately to the south-west of Kanata, and about 31 km (19 mi) from downtown Ottawa. It was formerly in Goulbourn Township which like the rest of Carleton County was amalgamated into Ottawa in 2001.
The first settlers to the area were Irish soldiers, arriving in the 1820s. The town itself was born in the 1850s by Jackson Stitt, for whom the town is named; he was also the first postmaster in the area.
The original town site, now known as "Old Stittsville", was at the present intersection of Carp Road and Hazeldean Road. It was a small crossroads, consisting of a few houses, a small inn, and a general store and post office, which was owned by Jackson Stitt.
By 1866, Stittsville was a post village with a population of 100, situated in the township of Goulborne. The village contained one general store, one common school, with an average attendance of seventeen pupils. The Loyal Orange Lodge, No. 210, met in Orange Hall, on the first Thursday in each month. The citizens included John S Argue, general merchant and postmaster.
The Great Carleton Fire of 1870 devastated the community, destroying nearly everything. The Hartin House and a handful of other buildings were all that was left standing. This was an extremely large fire, encompassing over from Ottawa to Smiths Falls to Carleton Place.
The regrowth of Stittsville did not occur until the 1870s, when Canadian Pacific built a railway line connecting Ottawa to the booming lumber town of Carleton Place. The new town would be at the current intersection of Abbott Street and Main Street. A train station, grist mill, grain elevators, and several hotels were just some of the features of this sleepy outpost town. The hamlet of Ashton (12 km to the west) also attributes its beginning to the railway line. In 1989, the tracks were removed, and CP Rail donated the land to be used as part of the Trans-Canada Trail.
Stittsville was incorporated as a police village in 1956, and became a full village in 1961. In 1974 it was amalgamated into Goulbourn Township. In 2001 Goulbourn was amalgamated into the City of Ottawa.
Since the extension of the Queensway in the 1970s made travel from Ottawa quicker and easier, Stittsville has experienced rapid growth; it transformed from a quiet farming community of under 500 people to a suburb of 20,000, in just over 25 years. Many residents are employed in Ottawa's high-tech industry or the federal government. Further growth is expected in the near future with the development of neighborhoods such as Jackson Trails and Kanata West to its north, Fernbank to its east and south and West Ridge to its west. In the next 10 to 20 years, Stittsville's population is expected to exceed 30,000.
Map of Ottawa and Carleton County from Wikipedia Commons
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
Researching in Eastern Ontario
The website of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society offers a number of search engines for databases of material they maintain:
The Society covers the counties of Carleton (combined with the city of Ottawa), Lanark, Renfrew, Prescott and Russell. There is a note on the website that the URL will be changing soon (Jun 2012). It may be best to “google” the Ottawa Branch of OGS.