West Montrose is a village in the Township of Woolwich in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. West Montrose straddles the Grand River, one of Canada's historic rivers.Together with nearby St. Jacobs, Ontario and Elmira, Ontario, West Montrose lies in the heart of an area where there is a historically large settlement of Old Order Mennonites noted for their traditional customs, dress and use of horse and buggies.
West Montrose was settled in 1806 by Scots from Montrose, Scotland. The village was an industrious community in the past with a woolen mill, saw mill, lime kiln, feed mill, two blacksmith shops, shoemaker and several stores. In 1902 the railway built tracks and a station north of the village to transport goods and livestock. Today the peaceful village is surrounded by Mennonite farms and most of the people living in the community commute to larger centres to work.
The Region of Waterloo, in collaboration with the Township of Woolwich and local residents, is committed to maintaining the West Montrose Covered Bridge as a viable open bridge with the appropriate limitations to ensure that the heritage integrity of the structure is conserved.
Please note: The West Montrose Covered Bridge has a 3 tonne load limit and should not be crossed by trucks, buses, tractors or other heavy vehicles.
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 1914 are now available [October 2012]; 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. All of the original census (1851-1911) images are online with the exception of that for 1861. Not all of them are indexed. Later censuses are not yet available. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
E-books and Books