Place:Williamstown, Glengarry, Ontario, Canada

Watchers
NameWilliamstown
TypeCommunity
Coordinates45.133°N 74.583°W
Located inGlengarry, Ontario, Canada
Also located inStormont Dundas and Glengarry, Ontario, Canada    
See alsoCharlottenburgh, Glengarry, Ontario, Canadatownship in which Williamstown was located until 1998
South Glengarry, Glengarry, Ontario, Canadamunicipality in which Williamstown was located since 1998
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Williamstown is a "compact rural community" in the former Township of Charlottenburgh, now in the Municipality of South Glengarry, in Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Charlottenburgh and Lancaster were two of the original eight "Royal Townships" established along the Saint Lawrence River in Upper Canada in the 1780s. This area was first settled by United Empire Loyalists. The development of this area was encouraged by Sir John Johnson, a wealthy landowner loyal to Britain, who was forced to abandon his land holdings in New York State during the American Revolution.

From the late 18th century to the early 19th century, the area was almost entirely settled by Scottish emigrants from all over the Scottish Highlands due to the Highland Clearances. Specifically, the Inverness-shire area of Scotland. Canadian Gaelic / Scottish Gaelic had been spoken in Glengarry County since its first settlement in 1784.

Johnson built a house in Williamstown near the end of the 18th century, The Manor House, which is now a Canadian National Historic Site. A grist mill and saw mill, now gone, were also built on the same location. Williamstown also contains the oldest log house in Ontario which was built in 1784. Occupants over the years have included the Reverend John Bethune (1751–1815), the great-great-grandfather of Doctor Norman Bethune, and David Thompson, Canadian explorer.

Some of the main partners of the North West Company, including Hugh McGillis, lived in this area.


Alexander McMartin, the first person born in Upper Canada to serve in the Legislative Assembly, was from Martintown.

The Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame is located in Williamstown.

Williamstown is also home to Canada's oldest continuing annual fair, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2012. It is also quite possibely North America's oldest annual fair although this distinction has yet to be authenticated.

The Nor'Westers and Loyalist Museum is also located in Williamstown.

South Glengarry is the location of four National Historic Sites of Canada: the Bethune-Thompson House, the Glengarry Cairn, the Sir John Johnson House, and the ruins of St. Raphael's Roman Catholic Church.

St. Raphael's Catholic Church was built commencing 1821 under the authority of Alexander Macdonell later Bishop of Regiopolis (now Kingston, Ontario). This is one of the oldest churches in what was then the colony of Upper Canada. In late 1970, the church interiors, roof and tower were destroyed by fire, but the ruins were preserved. In 1973, a smaller church with the same name was built, attached to the ruins .

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 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.
Images and indexes of civil registrations for the "viewable" years can be found on paid websites, and indexes only on FamilySearch. The latest year published is not yet available online. The FamilySearch Wiki on Ontario Vital Records explains how these records are organized and their availability.

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. 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.
Other websites, some paid and some free, also provide Canadian census originals and/or indexes online. One can view censuses on microfilm at the Archives of Ontario or at big 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 Glengarry County

  • Glengarry GenWeb provides a number of online pages of local material, including lists of original settlers. See the Research section of the home page.
  • Internet Archive has a large collection of Ontario references and is always worth checking. Enter the town or township in the seach engine.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Williamstown, 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.
source: Family History Library Catalog