Woolwich Township was originally an area of Grand River land included within "Block Three" of the Six Nations Indian grant. It was one of the earlier townships of Waterloo County to be settled, receiving its first incomers as early as 1807. However, settlement did not begin in earnest until the 1830s. As with much of the rest of Waterloo County, the majority of settlers were of German-Mennonite heritage either moving across from Waterloo Township or up from Pennsylvania in the United States. An enclave of English and Protestant Scots settlers were to be found east of the Grand River.
Early settlers and leaders of the Woolwich Township settlements were Henry Brubacher and Benjamin Eby (Mennonites from Pennsylvania), Captain Thomas Smith from the British army, George Eby, David Cress (Waterloo Township), Simon Cress, Henry Martin, and David Musselman.
In the restructuring of Waterloo County in 1973, Woolwich Township's borders were redrawn to include the more rural eastern side of Waterloo Township which ceased to exist following the restructuring.
The map of Waterloo County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the communities and physical features of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)
A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb gives an outline of the townships.
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