|Located in||Ontario, Canada (1849 - 1971)|
|Also located in||Upper Canada, Canada (1792 - 1841)|
|Canada West, Canada (1841 - 1867)|
|See also||Home District, Upper Canada, Canada||administrative district 1784-1849|
|York Region, Ontario, Canada||county municipality which replaced northern section of York County in 1971|
|Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada||municipality which replaced the southern section of York County in 1954|
This section is based on an article in Wikpedia.
York County is a historic county in Upper Canada (1792-1841), Canada West (1841-1867), and the present Canadian province of Ontario.
York County was created in 1792 and was part of the jurisdiction of the Home District of Upper Canada. It originally comprised all of what is now York Region, Peel Region, Halton Region, Toronto, parts of the current Durham Regional Municipality and the current city of Hamilton.
In 1816, Wentworth County and Halton County were created from York County. In 1851, Ontario County and Peel County were separated from York.
Over the proceeding century the remaining York County had little or no alterations to its borders. Toronto annexed areas previously covered by surrounding townships, but Toronto remained within the County of York.
In 1953, the city of Toronto; the towns of New Toronto, Mimico, Weston, and Leaside; the villages of Long Branch, Swansea, and Forest Hill; and the townships of Etobicoke, York, North York, East York, and Scarborough seceded from York County to form Metropolitan Toronto. The county office, which had been in Toronto, was moved to Newmarket. The York County Court House and the Adelaide Street Court House in Toronto are the only reminders of the former county seat in Toronto.
In 1971, the remaining portion of York County was replaced by the York Regional Municipality.
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.)
- East Gwillimbury is now the Town of East Gwillimbury. It was surveyed for settlement in 1798 and includes the comunities of Sharon, and Mount Albert and the village of East Gwillimbury.
- East York is now in the City of Toronto (as of 1998)
- Etobicoke is now in the City of Toronto (as of 1998). Etobicoke Township was surveyed for settlement in 1792. Villages and towns included Islington. Three communities on the shore of Lake Ontario later developed into separate municipalities: Mimico, New Toronto, and Long Branch. With Etobicoke, these left York County in 1953 to join the newly formed urban region Metropolitan Toronto.
- Georgina was merged with North Gwillimbury to form the Town of Georgina. The township was opened for settlement in 1815. Towns and villages include Keswick, Sutton, Pefferlaw, Udora, Cedarbrae, Vachell and Jackson's Point.
- King was opened for settlement in 1798. Community centres include King City, Schomberg, Lloydtown, and Kettleby.
- Markham is now the Town of Markham. The township opened for settlement in 1792. Markham included Markham Village, Unionville, Buttonville and Mount Joy. Richmond Hill and Stouffville were also partly situated within Markham Township.
- North Gwillimbury has merged with Georgina to form the Town of Georgina since 1971.
- North York is now in the City of Toronto (as of 1998)
- Scarborough is now in the City of Toronto (as of 1998). The township was organized for settlement in 1792. Historical community centres were Agincourt, Highland Creek, Wexford and Woburn.
- Vaughan is now the City of Vaughan. Vaughan was opened for settlement in 1792. The township included the town of Weston as well as Maple, Kleinburg, Concord and much of Thornhill (which also extends into Markham). A colony of Pennsylvania Quakers were among the earliest settlers.
- Whitchurch is now the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. Whitchurch was opened for settlement in 1798 with its first settlers being Loyalist Quakers from Pennsylvania. Towns and villages included Newmarket, Bloomington and part of Aurora.
- York is now in the City of Toronto (as of 1998). Originally York Township, East York Township and North York Township were all part of York Township. It was organized in 1792.
- Toronto was originally the Town of York and became the City of Toronto in 1834. In 1953 it left York County and joined Metropolitan Toronto with the southern townships of Etobicoke, York and Scarborough. In 1998 the towns, cities and townships that made up Metropolitan Toronto amalgamated to become a single-tier municipality or region named City of Toronto.
The map of York County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual municipalities, townships, towns and villages of the county.
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.
=== Websites with more local information on York County (York Region) ===
- York County GenWeb. Worth a reference, but some pages need updating, particularly addresses for archives and libraries.
- York Region Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Serves Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville. Website has recently been updated (at August 2012).
- Canadiana Library at North York Public Library This library houses a wide collection of local genealogical material, provides microfilm readers for the Canadian census and for local newspapers, and is the home of the Ontario Genealogical Society's own library.
- The Richmond Hill Public Library houses the largest collection of genealogical material in York Region.
- Markham Museum and Historic Village. This used to be a library holding original documents such as township land records. It now includes an outdoor museum of old buildings from around the township.
- The Newmarket Era newspaper has a digitized version online covering its last 125 years.
- 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.
- source: Family History Library Catalog
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