Place:Grey, Ontario, Canada

Coordinates44.3°N 80.7°W
Located inOntario, Canada     (1833 - )
Also located inUpper Canada, Canada     (1792 - 1841)
Canada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
See alsoSimcoe District, Upper Canada, Canada(partly) 1843-1850
Wellington District, Upper Canada, Canada(partly) 1840-1850

Grey County is a county in southwestern Ontario, Canada. For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Grey County, Ontario. which describes the modern Grey County.

Image:Grey townships2.png
In 2001 Grey County was reorganized into municipalities. Each new municipality took on the administration of two or three old townships. Owen Sound and Hanover maintained their local governments independent of the geographically larger municipalities. The Town of Meaford joined with the two closest townships to form an expanded Meaford.

For a picture of the older county, see the map of Grey circa 1951 from Ontario Archives which locates the individual townships, city, towns and villages of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)


From 1788 when the Constitutional Act brought Upper Canada into being, local government divisions in the province were called "districts". Only four districts were set up to start with, but as time went on and population increased, the number of districts was expanded and each covered less territory. The districts were abolished in 1849, and county system of local government began.

Grey County was first surveyed in 1833 when some of its territory was originally in the Simcoe District and the remainder was in the Wellington District. Both Simcoe and Wellington Districts had been part of the Home District before 1840. Grey was established as a county in 1851-52 and surveyed again in 1857. It was named for Earl Grey (1802-1894), who became the British Colonial Secretary in 1846.

The first settlers arrived in 1834--most of them Canadian-born, second generation farmers looking for new land. Later a group of immigrants from the British Isles, and a small number of German immigrants (who settled in Normanby Township) joined the pioneers.

  • Townships which had previously been part of Simcoe District were: Artemesia, Collingwood, Euphrasia, Osprey, and St. Vincent.
  • Townships which had been part of Wellington District were: Bentinck, Derby, Egremont, Glenelg, Holland, Melancthon, Normanby, Proton, Sullivan, and Sydenham.
  • Townships which were added to Grey in the late 1850's were: Keppel and Sarawak. These had previously been in Indian territory
  • Melancthon Township left Grey and became part of Dufferin County in 1879.

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 Grey County

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