Place:Dufferin, Ontario, Canada

Alt namesDufferin County
Dufferinsource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates44.03°N 80.12°W
Located inOntario, Canada     (1874 - )
See alsoGrey, Ontario, Canadacontained parts of Dufferin before 1874 (see townships for details)
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada|contained parts of Dufferin before 1874 (see townships for details)
Wellington, Ontario, Canada|contained parts of Dufferin before 1874 (see townships for details)

The text in this section is a precis of an article in Wikipedia.

Dufferin County is a county in the Canadian province of Ontario. The county covers an area of 1,486.31 square kilometres (573.87 sq mi), and its population in 2011 was 56,881. It is a lofty table-land that is about 1,700 feet (518 m) above sea-level and about 1,400 feet (427 m) above the level of downtown Toronto.

Orangeville, the county seat, is situated on the southern border of the county and is the largest urban centre, with just over half the county's population. The town is very small in area and geographically compact.

Originally an agriculturally based economy, Dufferin's economy has diversified to include commercial and retail businesses, industries related to residential and commercial construction (building, supplies, aggregates, real estate) and manufacturing. A portion of Dufferin’s economy still depends on agriculture but tourism is becoming more important as the county takes a more positive role in attracting visitors.

Dufferin was formed in 1874 from parts of the counties of Grey and Simcoe, on the north and east, and from the County of Wellington on the south and west. The county gets its name from the Marquess of Dufferin, who was Governor General of Canada between 1872-1878. Compared with other counties, there has been very little change to Dufferin's municipal structure since its formation.

Historical townships

  • Amaranth Township, area: 63,471 acres (99 sq mi; 257 km2). Opened in 1821 and named from a common weed-plant with green or purplish flowers, or it might be named after the "un-fading flower" of the classic poets. Settled mainly between 1840 and 1873. Communities were Orangeville, Laurel, Shelburne, Waldemar, Bowling Green
  • East Garafraxa Township, area: 40,835 acres (64 sq mi; 165 km2). Opened in 1821. Settled mostly between 1833 and 1850. (community centre, Marsville)
  • East Luther Township, area: 38,599 acres (60 sq mi; 156 km2). Settled mainly between 1860 and 1875. Community centres: Grand Valley, Monticello and Colbeck.
  • Melancthon Township, area: 74,705 acres (117 sq mi; 302 km2). Opened in 1821 and named after one of the leaders of the German Reformation (Philipp Melanchthon). A swampy township like East Luther so it was slow to be settled. Not generally settled until after 1850. Community centres: Melancthon, Corbetton, Riverview, Hornings Mills.
  • Township of Mono now replaced by the Town of Mono. Date of change unknown.
  • Mulmur Township, area: 70,291 acres (110 sq mi; 284 km2). Opened in 1822. Origin of the name is forgotten, possibly a corruption of an Indian word or name. Settled mainly after 1867. Community centres: Mansfield, Honeywood, Terra Nova, Primrose.

The following municipalities are separate incorporations:

In addition, East Luther has had a name-change to East Luther-Grand Valley, recognizing Grand Valley, the largest community in the township. Date of change unknown.

Research Tips

Ontario Archives provides a map of Dufferin illustrating the townships, villages and towns in the timeframe 1946-1950.

Historic map of Dufferin Co showing cemeteries and historic communities. A click on any one of the townships leads to a second page of very useful historical information and links to other sources.

NOTE: References to the former districts and counties which represented the various townships prior to the founding of the county in 1874 will be found with the townships themselves.

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.

Dufferin Ontario GenWeb provides a valuable variety of references, including transcribed indexes to most BMDs.

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