|Located in||Niagara, Ontario, Canada (1970 - )|
|See also||Caistor, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada||township amalgamated into West Lincoln in 1970|
|Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada||township amalgamated into West Lincoln in 1970|
|South Grimsby, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada||township amalgamated into West Lincoln in 1970|
|Niagara, Ontario, Canada||regional municipality of which West Lincoln is a part|
West Lincoln Township was established within the new Regional Municipality of Niagara in 1970 from the former townships of Caistor, Gainsborough and South Grimsby. It is made up of the inland townships of Lincoln County and its administrative centre is Smithville.
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.
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.
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.
Some websites with more local information on Lincoln County
- Niagara GenWeb provides a combined site for Lincoln and Welland. In places it appears to be "under construction" but another click away is a list of early settlers for a township with the date they settled, birthplace, post office address and business. There is also a surname database, a query page, a list of the census microfilms with LAC code numbers (not FamilySearch), a list of cemeteries in the county, biographies of settlers, libraries and county offices, land records, links to family websites and other links.
- The Niagara Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society have a list of their publications both online and off- and their research facilities. Niagara Branch will be hosting the OGS annual province-wide conference in 2014.
- The St Catharines Public Library has a website devoted to their genealogical holdings.