Place:Amherstburg, Essex, Ontario, Canada

Alt namesAmherstburgsource: from redirect
Coordinates42.1°N 83.1°W
Located inEssex, Ontario, Canada     (1867 - )
Also located inUpper Canada, Canada     ( - 1841)
Canada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
See alsoAnderdon, Essex, Ontario, Canadaamalgamated into Amherstburg in 1998
Malden, Essex, Ontario, Canadaamalgamated into Amherstburg in 1998
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia.

Amherstburg (2011 population 21,556) is a Canadian town near the mouth of the Detroit River in Essex County, Ontario. It is approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan.

end of Wikipedia contribution

In 1998 the Town of Amherstburg was amalgamated with the Townships of Anderdon and Malden as part of the restructuring of municipalities that occurred across Ontario. The enlarged municipality continued to be called the Town of Amherstburg.

NOTE: The earliest census available on a name-by-name basis in Canada was taken in 1851. The records for many districts and sub-districts did not survive. Records for Amherstburg, Essex (District 8, sub-district 62) are not available. Most records for later censuses (1861-1921 have been published) did survive. See below for online repositories.


A map showing the townships of Essex County as they existed from about 1800 till the 1880s. From 1800 until 1840 Ontario was known as Upper Canada, and from 1841 until 1867 it was known as Canada West.Image:Essex 1885 Ont Arch redraw.png
A map of 1951 illustrating the townships and larger urban areas as they existed in Essex County from the 1880s until 1999.
A map of Essex county since the municipal reorganization of 1999. Discussions started in 1990, but regulations were not put in place until 1999. Except for the City of Windsor, the new municipalities are called "towns".

The first two maps are based on illustrations in the Archives of Ontario website. The third map is based on one in Wikimedia Commons.


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

French colonists had settled along what became the Canadian side of the Detroit River during the colonial era, establishing small farms. The Petite Côte settlement was founded along the river to the north.

In 1796, after losing the Thirteen Colonies following the American Revolutionary War, the British established Fort Malden as a military fort overlooking the river's mouth at Lake Erie. It was occupied as a garrison. This stimulated development in the area, as did the Crown granting land in Upper Canada to Loyalists (now known as United Empire Loyalists) in compensation for losses in the Thirteen Colonies, or as payment for service in the military during the war.

The Crown also wanted to increase population and development in Upper Canada. The new settlers built many of their houses in the French style of a century before, giving the new town a historic character. French-speaking colonists also settled here, some of whom were descendants of soldiers and traders associated with Fort Detroit, or other early colonists. They were known as Fort Detroit French, in contrast to later migrants of the 19th century from Quebec, who became known as Canadian French. St. Jean was their Catholic church.

During the days of the Underground Railroad before the American Civil War, refugee African-American slaves often crossed the river to escape to freedom in Canada, after the Crown abolished slavery. Although Michigan was a free state, slavecatchers went to Detroit trying to capture slaves and take them to owners for bounty. Detroit abolitionists William Lambert and especially George DeBaptiste were key to helping the slaves escape. DeBaptiste owned a lake steamboat that he used to offload refugees in town while docked ostensibly to load lumber. They used Fort Malden as one of several entry points to Canada.

By 1869, the town of Amherstburg in the Township of Malden County Essex had a population of 2,500. When the fort was no longer needed for military purposes, the government adapted it for use as a provincial "lunatic asylum". Its main building was later used as a Port of Entry Money Order office and Post Office savings bank.

Amherstburg was incorporated as a town in 1878. The town is named after Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, commander of the British forces and first British Governor General of the Province of Quebec (1760).

In 1998, The Town of Amherstburg absorbed the neighbouring Township of Anderdon (to its northeast) and Township of Malden (to its southeast) to form a larger Town of Amherstburg.

At 20:01 Eastern Daylight Time on April 19, 2018, a magnitude 3.6 earthquake (with a depth of ) occurred in Amherstburg, between the main portion of town and McGregor. No damage was reported, but the 30-second shaking was felt in Windsor, Downtown Detroit, and the Downriver communities across the river, such as Grosse Ile, Michigan. Some minor shaking was felt as far away as Toledo, Ohio along Lake Erie and Ann Arbor in the interior of Michigan.

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 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 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 1921. 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.
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.

Hard-to-Find Places

E-books, Books and Newspapers

  • 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.
  • The Ancestor Hunt is a blog listing old Ontario newspapers that are available online, both free and pay websites. This is a very extensive list.

Some websites with more local information on Essex County

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Amherstburg, 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.