Place:Bruce, Ontario, Canada

Alt namesBruce County
Brucesource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates44.31°N 81.32°W
Located inOntario, Canada     (1850 - )
Also located inCanada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
Contained Places
Culross-Teeswater Cemetery
Hillcrest Cemetery
McIntosh United Church Cemetery ( 1861 - )
Allenford ( 1850 - present )
Colpoys Bay
Dunblane ( 1856 - 1967 )
Pine River
Red Bay
Stokes Bay
Indian reserve
Cape Croker
Inhabited place
Kincardine Town ( 1849 - )
Lion's Head
Lucknow ( 1856 - )
Pike Bay
Port Elgin ( 1849 - present )
Southampton ( 1852 - present )
Walkerton ( 1871 - present )
Arran-Elderslie ( 1998 - present )
Brockton ( 1998 - present )
Huron-Kinloss ( 1999 - present )
Kincardine (municipality) ( 1999 - )
North Bruce Peninsula ( 1999 - present )
Saugeen Shores ( 1998 - present )
South Bruce Peninsula ( 1999 - present )
South Bruce ( 1999 - present )
Albemarle ( - 1999 )
Amabel ( - 1999 )
Arran ( - 1999 )
Brant ( - 1999 )
Bruce (township) ( - 1999 )
Carrick ( - 1999 )
Culross ( - 1999 )
Eastnor ( - 1999 )
Elderslie ( - 1998 )
Greenock ( - 1999 )
Huron ( - 1999 )
Kincardine (township) ( 1849 - 1999 )
Kinloss ( - 1999 )
Lindsay ( - 1999 )
Saugeen ( 1847 - 1999 )
St. Edmunds ( - 1999 )

Ontario Archives provides a map of Bruce illustrating the historical townships.

Bruce County is located on a peninsula separating Lake Huron from Georgian Bay in southwestern Ontario. It was established as a county in 1849 from unorganized territory north of what is now Huron County. The county town is Walkerton, now in Brockton municipality.

Image:Bruce OntArchrevised.png

Bruce County is named for James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin and 12th Earl of Kincardine, the Governor General of the Province of Canada in 1849. The county was surveyed in 1848 and the first settlers arrived in the summer of the same year. In 1849 more settlers, mostly of Scotch origin, arrived to the area that is now Kincardine. The north part of the county had several First Nation reserves, some of which are still in existence.

Ultimately the county had 16 townships. Some of the northern ones were established years after the county was formed in 1849.

As in most other counties in Ontario, the old township structure has been reorganized to better fit modern needs. This occurred in 1998-99. The map above illustrates the old townships and the modern municipaties which replaced them.

This is a map of the county in 1885 indicating the physical features and the communities that existed at that time.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Bruce County, Ontario.

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.

Bruce County Genealogical Society provides a great deal of information on the county and its municipalities.

source: Family History Library Catalog
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Bruce County, 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.