Place:Port Dover, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada

NamePort Dover
Alt namesDover Millssource: wikipedia
TypeTown or village
Coordinates42.79°N 80.209°W
Located inNorfolk, Ontario, Canada
See alsoWoodhouse, Norfolk, Ontario, Canadatownship in which Port Dover was located

Port Dover is a "small urban community" in the former Township of Woodhouse in Norfolk County in Ontario, Canada. Norfolk no longer has a "township" structure.

The following notes are taken from Wikipedia.

In 1670, French missionaries François Dollier de Casson and René Bréhant de Galinée became the first Europeans to winter at what is now modern-day Port Dover. Earthen remains and a plaque mark the spot near the fork of the Lynn River (Patterson's Creek to many older Port Doverites) and Black Creek where they and seven Frenchmen built a hut and chapel.

By 1794 the first settlers, a group of United Empire Loyalists of which one was Peter Walker, had established a hamlet known as Dover Mills (named for the English port of Dover) which was razed to the ground by the Americans in the War of 1812. Subsequent reconstruction took place closer to the mouth of the Lynn River, where a harbour had been in use since the early 19th century. In 1835, merchant Israel Wood Powell registered a village plan for Port Dover. Improvement to the harbour during the next fifteen years made Port Dover a principal Lake Erie port. Shipyards, tanneries, and Andrew Thompson's woollen-mill contributed substantially to local economic growth. In 1879, Port Dover became an incorporated village with a population of 1,100.

This community was the subject of an American raid during the War of 1812, on May 14, 1814. After making their landing on the shore, 750 American soldiers committed themselves to a surprise attack on the village's civilians. Scattered elements of nearby militia and regular units tried to defend the village without any success. The local survivors rebuilt Port Dover further downstream on Patterson's Creek. In 1835, Port Dover was incorporated as a village and later as a town.

The community once had its own railway station with frequent service from the Lake Erie & Northern Railway, owned by Canadian Pacific Railway.

Port Dover in the 20th century became a fishing village and tourist destination. Port Dover's fishing industry at one time hosted the largest freshwater fishing fleet in the world employing many of the town’s citizens. It continues to be important to the community. From 1906 to 1993, the town was home to Thomas A. Ivey and Sons, one of Canada's largest wholesale florists and rose-growers, and Port Dover's largest employer.

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 Norfolk County ===
  • The story of the counties of Ontario, by Emily Poynton Weaver, published by Bell & Cockburn of Toronto, Ontario
  • The Bexfields from Norfolk by Alfred Harold Bexfield
  • Pioneer sketches of Long Point settlement, or, Norfolk's foundation builders and their family genealogies
source: Family History Library Catalog
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Communities_in_Norfolk_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.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Port Dover, 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.