Place:Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Alt namesPeterborosource: abbreviation
Coordinates44.6°N 78.3°W
Located inOntario, Canada     (1838 - )
Also located inUpper Canada, Canada     (1792 - 1841)
Canada West, Canada     (1841 - 1867)
See alsoColbourne District, Upper Canada, Canadaadministrative district 1838-1850
Contained Places
Inhabited place
Bailieboro ( 1998 - present )
Burleigh Falls
Chemong Park
Kawartha Park
Mathers Corners
Millbrook ( 1974 - present )
Mount Pleasant ( 1974 - present )
Nogies Creek
Round Lake
Young's Point
Rice Lake
Asphodel-Norwood ( 1998 - )
Cavan-Monaghan ( 1998 - present )
Douro-Dummer ( 1998 - )
Galway-Cavendish-Harvey ( 1998 - )
Havelock-Belmont-Methuen ( 1998 - )
North Kawartha ( 1998 - )
Otonabee-South Monaghan ( 1998 - )
Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield ( 2001 - )
Anstruther ( 1861 - 1998 )
Asphodel ( - 1998 )
Belmont ( 1823 - 1998 )
Burleigh ( 1861 - 1998 )
Cavan ( 1974 - )
Cavendish ( 1862 - 1998 )
Chandos ( 1862 - 1998 )
Douro (township) ( - 1998 )
Dummer ( 1821 - 1998 )
Ennismore (township) ( 1829 - 1998 )
Galway ( 1857 - 1998 )
Harvey ( 1866 - 1998 )
Methuen ( 1823 - 1998 )
North Monaghan ( 1820 - 1998 )
Otonabee ( 1820 - 1998 )
Smith ( 1820 - 1998 )
South Monaghan ( 1974 - present )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

The following is based on an article in Wikipedia.

Peterborough County is located in southern Ontario, Canada. The county seat is the City of Peterborough.

The southern section of the county is a mixture of farms, urban areas and lakefront holiday properties. The northern section of the county is, for the most part, sparsely populated wilderness with numerous rivers and lakes. The recently expanded Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park covers much of northern Peterborough County.

In 1998 Peterborough County was "municipally reorganized". Its original 16 or so townships were merged into pairs or groups of three. The new local divisions of administrations have once again been called "townships", but will be described here as municipalities to avoid confusion between the old and the new.

New Municipalities

The county now consists of eight municipalities, called "townships":

and two First Nations reserves:

  • Curve Lake First Nation 35
  • Hiawatha First Nation
  • The City of Peterborough is within the Peterborough County census division, but is separated from the county's administration.

The map of Peterborough County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual municipalities, townships, towns and villages of the county.


The following is based on an article in Wikipedia.

The county was named in honor of Col. Peter Robinson, who in 1825 brought 2,000 settlers from Ireland. The route taken was by way of Port Hope, Rice Lake and the Otonabee River, the same route used by the first settlers that entered this region in 1818. At that time the area was administered as the Newcastle District, an area which stretched from Lake Ontario northward into the wilderness. Its eastern and western boundaries were the Eastern District and the Home District respectively. In 1838 Newcastle District was separated into a southern and a northern part. The southern section continued as Newcastle and included Northumberland and Durham Counties. The northern section was named the Colbourne District and included the later counties of Peterborough, Victoria and Haliburton.

When the District system of administration was abolished in 1849-50, the entire area of the Colbourne District was named the County of Peterborough. Victoria and Haliburton Counties became separate counties in 1862.

A list of townships prior to the reorganization is as follow (as will be noted some townships joined forces at an earlier date):

  • Asphodel Township. Opened in 1821 and named after the Greek word for lily.
  • Belmont and Methuen Townships. Opened in 1823 but by 1842 had only 33 householders, in 1866 only 185. The townships were mainly rock, lake and stream.
  • Burleigh and Anstruther Townships. First settled in 1861. The first Post Office was called Burleigh. It was separated from Dummer Township in 1865.
  • Chandos Township. Opened in 1862 and named from one of the titles of the Duke of Buckingham (the Grenville family).
  • Douro Township. Opened in 1821 and named in honor of one of the battles in the Peninsula Wars with Napoleon.
  • Dummer Township. Opened in 1821 and named in honor of William Dummer Powell, Chief Justice of Upper Canada. A Colony of immigrants came in 1831, of whom 150 were sent out by the Marquis of Bath.
  • Ennismore Township. Opened in 1829 and named in honor of William Hare, Viscount Ennismore, Member of Parliament for Cork who died in 1827. Originally it was called Emily Gore.
  • Galway and Cavendish Townships. The individual townships were opened in 1857 and 1862 respectively.
  • Harvey Township. Opened in 1821 and named after Sir John Harvey, Deputy Adjutant General in Canada during the War of 1812. It was part of Smith township until 1866. The first settlers were retired officers who arrived in 1832, but they were unsuccessful and had to leave.
  • North Monaghan Township. Opened 1820.
  • Otonabee Township. Opened in 1820 and named for the river flowing through it. The word in Indian signifies a delta.
  • Smith Township. Settled in October 1819 by Allen Otty.

A further township, South Monaghan, was moved from Northumberland County to Peterborough County in 1998.

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 Peterborough County

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