Place:Cooks Mills, Welland, Ontario, Canada

NameCooks Mills
Coordinates43°N 79.183°W
Located inWelland, Ontario, Canada
See alsoCrowland, Welland, Ontario, Canadatownship in which Cooks Mills located until 1961
Welland, Welland, Ontario, Canadamunicipality in which Cooks Mills amalgamated in 1961
Niagara, Ontario, Canadaregional municipality that Welland joined in 1970
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Cooks Mills is a "small urban community" located in the former Crowland Township in Welland County in southern Ontario, Canada. In 1961 Cooks Mills was amalgamated into the municipality or city of Welland together with the remainder of Crowland Township, and in 1970 Welland was amalgamated into Regional Municipality of Niagara.


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

The community predates the establishment of what is now downtown Welland. In 1799, when present-day Welland was farmland, the Yokom family came from Pennsylvania and built a grist mill on Lyon's Creek. (Today, one of the roads in Cooks Mills is called Yokom Road after them.) Just before the War of 1812, an Englishman called Calvin Cook purchased the mill and added a tannery, a sawmill and a distillery. The place known as Cook's Mills became a prominent community of the Crowland Township; some early maps call the location Crowland Village.

Towards the end of the War of 1812, a fire fight occurred at Cooks Mills, involving an American contingent sent to destroy flour and grain that might benefit the British. Early on the morning of October 19, 1814, the American picket at Misener's Hollow, just east of the mills, was attacked by soldiers of the Glengarry Light Infantry. The British force was supported by a 6-pound field cannon and Congreve rockets. The Americans succeeded in driving off the British, and threw the grain and flour into the mill pond.

Lyon's Creek headwaters were in the Wainfleet Marsh. However, they were cut off by the construction of the Feeder Canal for the Welland Canal. The creek was carried under the canal through a stone culvert. Due to the construction, the water level in the marsh slowly receded. All the while, the culvert was being clogged up by debris. Eventually, the flow in Lyons Creek decreased to the extent when it was no longer able to turn the water wheels at Cook's Mills. The industries were closed and abandoned. Thus, the canal, which contributed greatly to development of Welland, became an indirect cause of an economic recession for Cook's Mills. Later on, Welland beat neighbouring communities in the running for the county seat. Cook's Mills became a farming area as opposed to Welland's industrial centre.

Over time, the apostrophes indicating the possessive in Lyon's Creek and Cook's Mills were dropped following a trend in the region exemplified by St. Catharines and St. Johns.

On January 1, 1961, the Crowland Township, including Cooks Mills, was incorporated into the City of Welland.

By the time of construction of the Welland By-Pass in 1967-1973, the original headwaters in the Wainfleet Marsh have all but disappeared, and most of what flow there was in the creek was coming from an earlier tributary called Indian Creek by some maps. This made Lyons Creek somewhat U-shaped, as Indian Creek flowed west before joining the original Lyons Creek. During the By-Pass construction, the creek was cut into three parts, and now what was once Indian Creek flows into the canal (photo). A couple kilometres north, Lyons Creek is fed directly from the canal (photo). The middle part of the creek dried up and much of its bed was torn up during the construction of approaches to the Townline Tunnel.

In a recent development, a study on the pollutants in the Niagara River done in 2000 found the organic pollutants polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to be present in the Lyons Creek. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is investigating the source of PCBs and possible remedial actions to deal with contaminated sediment.

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 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, 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.

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 Welland County

  • Niagara GenWeb provides a combined site for Lincoln and Welland. In places it appears to be "under construction" but another click away is a list of early settlers for a township with the date they settled, birthplace, post office address and business. There is also a surname database, a query page, a list of the census microfilms with LAC code numbers (not FamilySearch), a list of cemeteries in the county, biographies of settlers, libraries and county offices, land records, links to family websites and other links.
  • The Niagara Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society have a list of their publications both online and off- and their research facilities. Niagara Branch will be hosting the OGS annual province-wide conference in 2014.
  • Niagara Falls City Hall has a cemetery search website
  • Willougby Historical Museum appears to be a place to visit.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Cooks Mills, Niagara Region, 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.