Place:Seneca, Haldimand, Ontario, Canada

Coordinates43°N 79.8°W
Located inHaldimand, Ontario, Canada     (1800 - 1974)
See alsoHaldimand-Norfolk, Ontario, Canadaregional municipality established 1974
Haldimand, Ontario, Canadasingle-tier authority re-established 2001

Seneca is a township in the Gore District, is bounded on the east by the township of Canboro, on the north-east by Caistor, Binbrook, and Glanford, on the north-west by Onondaga, on the south-west by the Grand River, and on the south-east by the township of Cayuga. In Seneca 6,182 acres are taken up, 3,063 of which are under cultivation. There is a large proportion of good land in the township, it is mostly rolling, and the timber is principally hardwood, with a small quantity of pine intermixed. There is abundance of fine large white-oak within convenient distances of the river. The villages of Caldonia, Seneca, York, and Indiana are in the township, all situated on the Grand River. There are four grist and eleven saw mills in the township, and large quantities of sawn lumber are exported from it.
Population in 1841: 831. Ratable property in the township: £16,316. (source: 1846 Canadian Gazetteer. Upper Province or Canada West. by Wm H Smith, published for the author by H & W Rowsell, Toronto. Quoted by courtesy of Elva Sanghera, Burnaby, BC)

The map of Haldimand County circa 1951 from Ontario Archives locates the individual townships, city, towns and villages of the county. (Click at the bottom of the page to see the map enlarged.)

A sketchmap from Ontario GenWeb provides a simple illustration of the location of the former townships.

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 Haldimand County

Two books referenced in Wikipedia in printed form which can be found on Our Roots, an online e-book site

source: Family History Library Catalog