Place:Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada

Watchers
NameNiagara-on-the-Lake
Alt namesNewark
Niagara
TypeTown
Coordinates43.205°N 79.128°W
Located inLincoln, Ontario, Canada
See alsoNiagara, Lincoln, Ontario, Canadatownship surrounding Niagara-on-the-Lake until 1970
Niagara, Ontario, Canadaregional municipality which Lincoln County joined in 1970
Contained Places
Cemetery
St Mark's Anglican Cemetery ( 1792 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Niagara-on-the-Lake is an independently incorporated town geographically located in the former Niagara Township in Lincoln County in southern Ontario. Niagara-on-the-Lake has been amalgamated with Niagara Township and the entire township is now called Niagara-on-the-Lake. The change took place in 1970 when the regional municipality was created.

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

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a town in Ontario, Canada. It is located on the Niagara Peninsula at the point where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, across the river from New York, United States. Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the Niagara Region of Ontario, and is the only town in Canada that has a Lord Mayor. It has a population of 17,511 (2016)

Niagara-on-the-Lake is important in the history of Canada: it served as the first capital of the Province of Upper Canada, the predecessor of Ontario, called Newark from 1792 to 1797. During the War of 1812, the town, the two former villages of St. David's and Queenston, and Fort George were the site of numerous battles following the American invasion of Upper Canada, and the town was razed. Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to the oldest Anglican and Catholic churches in Ontario, and the oldest surviving golf course in North America.

Today, Niagara-on-the-Lake draws tourists with its quaint colonial-style buildings, the Shaw Festival, Fort George, wineries, an outlet mall on the highway, and its proximity to Niagara Falls. The Niagara Region has the second-highest percentage of seniors in Ontario. Niagara-on-the-Lake has been rated among the best places to retire in Ontario according to Comfort Life, a publication for seniors.

History

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

Before the British settlers came, the point where Fort Mississauga is situated was used by at least three Native American tribes: the Neutral (15th century); Seneca (late 17th century); and Mississauga (18th century).

The settlement was founded in 1781 as Butlersburg, in honour of Colonel John Butler, the commander of Butler's Rangers. It was later renamed West Niagara to distinguish it from Fort Niagara. It was a British military base and haven for pro-British loyalists fleeing the United States during the volatile aftermath of the American Revolution.

Renamed Newark by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1792, it was the first capital of Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario). The Upper Canada legislature first met at Navy Hall on September 17, 1792 and met here another four times until June 1796.[1] In 1797, Simcoe moved the capital to York because Newark was very close to the border with the U.S. Newark was renamed Niagara in 1798.[2]

Fort George, just south of the settlement, was built in 1796-1799. During the War of 1812, Niagara was taken in the Battle of Fort George by American forces in May 1813 after a two-day bombardment by cannon from Fort Niagara and the American fleet, followed by a fierce battle. After capturing Fort George, the Americans built their own fortifications here. The fort was retaken by the British in December 1813 but left to fall into ruins and abandoned in 1815. Only a small portion of the fort remains; it has been fully restored. Fort Mississauga was built, starting in 1813, but was not completed until after the war in 1816.

During the war, the settlement of Niagara was razed and burnt to the ground by American soldiers as they withdrew to Fort Niagara. (Afterwards, on December 19, 1813, the British captured Fort Niagara.) The citizens rebuilt Niagara after the war, with the residential quarter around Queen Street and toward King Street, where the new Court House was rebuilt out of range of Fort Niagara's cannons.[1]

The Smith's Canadian Gazetteer of 1846 describes "Niagara (formerly called Newark)" as follows:

"It has been a place of considerable trade. On the east side of the town is a large military reserve. About half a mile up the river are the ruins of Fort George, where the remains of General Brock were originally interred; they were removed. A new town-hall and court-house are intended to be erected by the town. There is a fire brigade with two engines and a hook and ladder company. Churches and chapels total five. Two newspapers are published weekly .... Steamboats run daily, as long as the weather will allow of it, from Toronto .... The Niagara Harbour and Dock Company were incorporated in the year 1830 .... the vessels turned out by the Company [include] the steamboat "London," which commenced running in the spring of 1845, the fastest boat on the upper lakes... The Company usually employ about 150 hands; and, when particularly busy, have employed as many as 350. There is also on the premises a marine railway, large enough for hauling up vessels of the first class. Post Office, post every day. Professions and Trades.—Three physicians and surgeons, nine lawyers, twelve stores, taverns, two chemists and druggists, three booksellers and stationers, two saddlers, four wagon makers, two watchmakers, two tallow-chandlers, marble works, two printers, two cabinet makers, one hatter, four bakers, two livery stables, two tinsmiths, three blacksmiths, six tailors, seven shoemakers, one tobacconist, one bank agency, .... large quantities of apples, peaches, and cider are shipped annually."

In 1859 the town built its first public school, Niagara Public School.

The town's present name was adopted around 1880 as a Postal Address to distinguish the town from Niagara Falls. The name was not officially adopted until 1970, when the Town of Niagara and the Township of Niagara merged.[1]

Historic sites

Most of the former military sites, such as Fort George, Navy Hall, and Butler's Barracks, have been restored. Fort George's restoration was done as a "Make Work Project," guided by plans from the Royal Engineers during the Great Depression of the 1930s, an early example of historic preservation. Fort George National Historic Site is a focal point in a collection of War of 1812 sites which, collectively, are managed by Parks Canada under the name Niagara National Historic Sites. That administrative name includes several national historic sites: Fort Mississauga, Mississauga Point Lighthouse (1804, the first on the Great Lakes), Navy Hall, Butler's Barracks, and Queenston Heights.



Niagara-on-the-Lake features historical plaques. Critical battles in the defence of Upper Canada took place here, and at nearby at Queenston and St. David's, both now part of Niagara-on-the-Lake. In one of these, Laura Secord gained her fame.

The town gave many African-Americans their first taste of freedom, both as a stop on the Underground Railroad for those travelling further into Upper Canada, and as a refuge in its own right. Its stock of Regency and Classical Revival buildings, considered the best in the country from the post-War of 1812 period, led the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to recommend the town's historic district be designated a National Historic Site of Canada, a designation which was approved in 2003. The historic centre had been designated as a provincial Heritage Conservation District under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1986. Although it did not make the final list, the Historic District was considered for nomination as a World Heritage Site.

Other significant sites in Niagara-on-the-Lake:

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 Ancestry.ca 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.

Censuses

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 Lincoln 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.
  • The St Catharines Public Library has a website devoted to their genealogical holdings.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Niagara-on-the-Lake. 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.