Place:Vaughan, York, Ontario, Canada

NameVaughan
Alt namesVaughan Twp.
Vaughan (township)
TypeTownship
Coordinates43.833°N 79.5°W
Located inYork, Ontario, Canada     (1792 - )
See alsoYork Region, Ontario, Canadamunicipality which replaced northern part of York County in 1971|
Contained Places
Cemetery
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Maps

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.)


The text in the remainder of this article is based on one in Wikipedia.

Era of Settlement

The first European to pass through Vaughan was the French explorer Étienne Brûlé, who traversed the Humber Trail (a trail following the River Humber north from its mouth into Lake Ontario) in 1615. However, it was not until the townships were created in 1792 that Vaughan began to see any settlements, as it was considered to be extremely remote and the lack of roads through the region made travel difficult. The township was named after Benjamin Vaughan, a British commissioner who signed a peace treaty with the United States in 1783.

Despite the hardships of pioneer life, settlers came to Vaughan in considerable numbers. The population grew from 19 men, 5 women, and 30 children in 1800 to 4300 in 1840. The first people to arrive were mainly Pennsylvania Germans, with a smaller number of families of English descent and a group of French Royalists being represented. This migration from the United States was by 1814 superseded by an influx of immigrants from Britain. While many of their predecessors had been agriculturalists, the newer immigrants were, in many cases, highly skilled tradespeople whose talents proved useful for a growing community.

Around the facilities established by this group arose a number of hamlets, the earliest of which was Thornhill, which witnessed the construction of a saw-mill in 1801, a grist mill in 1815, and boasted a population of 300 by 1836. Other such enclaves included Kleinburg, Coleraine, Maple, Richmond Hill, Teston, Claireville, Pine Grove, Carrville, Patterson, Concord, Edgeley, Fisherville, Elder's Mills, Elgin Mills, Jefferson, Nashville, Purpleville, Richvale, Sherwood, Langstaff, Vellore, and Burwick (later Woodbridge).

Vaughan changed relatively little in its early history, from the 1840s when the number of inhabitants stood at 4300 to 1935 when it had 4873 residents. However, World War II sparked an influx of immigration, and by 1960 the population stood at 15,957. As well, the ethno-cultural composition of the area began to change with the arrival of different groups such as Italians, Jews and Eastern Europeans.

Government

A municipal government was established when Vaughan Township was incorporated in 1850. In 1971, the new regional government of York Region was established, acquiring policing and welfare services from the communities it served; simultaneously, the township merged with the Village of Woodbridge to form the Town of Vaughan. In 1991, it officially changed its legal status to City of Vaughan.

Vaughan is the fastest growing municipality in Canada (source:Statistics Canada data as reported in Wikipedia.) The estimated population in 2010 was 290,000.

Research Tips

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.

Early Records

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.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.
In September 2014 Ancestry.ca announced that its paid website has been subjected to a "houseclean" of its Ontario BMD database, adding data that had been omitted and making many corrections. Its provision now includes

  • Births, with 2,172,124 records covering 1869-1913.
  • Marriages, with 3,393,369 records for 1801-1928 including Ontario county, district and Roman Catholic origins as well as province-wide civil registration.
  • Deaths, with 2,190,030 records comprising Ontario civil registrations of deaths, 1869-1938 and registrations of Ontario overseas deaths for 1939-1947.


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.

Censuses

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.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can also view censuses on microfilm at the LAC, at the Archives of Ontario (see address above), or at large libraries throughout Canada.

E-books and Books

  • The Internet Archive, particularly texts from Canadian universities, can contain interesting material
  • Our Roots is a Canadian website similar to The Internet Archive
  • Global Genealogy is an online bookshop specializing in Ontario material who will ship anywhere in the world.

    === Websites with more local information on York County (York Region) ===

Toronto

  • Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Serves the current City of Toronto including Etobicoke, York Township, Weston, Long Branch, New Toronto, Mimico, Swansea, Forest Hill, East York, Leaside and North York as well as the original City of Toronto. Contains a table of links to Toronto City Directories to be found online. Many other services and publications.
  • Heritage Toronto has a large website and newsletter outlining Toronto's history and includes a series of links to other organizations.
  • There may be many other libraries and museums housing information for genealogical searching in York County or York Region including others with more of a Toronto bias.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Vaughan, Ontario. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.