Ontario, Canada, Boundary Changes and MapsEdit This Page

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== Introduction ==
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== Introduction ==
  
 
Although they were designated by 1800, Ontario counties did not always have their own governments. Early Ontario was divided into a varying number of districts, and each district included several counties. Most early government records were organized on the basis of districts.  
 
Although they were designated by 1800, Ontario counties did not always have their own governments. Early Ontario was divided into a varying number of districts, and each district included several counties. Most early government records were organized on the basis of districts.  
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County and district boundaries have changed, however, and a township may have been included in different districts and counties at various times.  
 
County and district boundaries have changed, however, and a township may have been included in different districts and counties at various times.  
  
=== Background ===
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=== Background ===
  
 
Although they were designated by 1800, Ontario counties did not always have their own governments. Early Ontario was divided into a varying number of districts, and each district included several counties. Most early government records were organized on the basis of districts.  
 
Although they were designated by 1800, Ontario counties did not always have their own governments. Early Ontario was divided into a varying number of districts, and each district included several counties. Most early government records were organized on the basis of districts.  
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Districts in early southern Ontario are not the same as the districts that still exist in modern northern Ontario.  
 
Districts in early southern Ontario are not the same as the districts that still exist in modern northern Ontario.  
  
For further information, see the "Historical Geography" section of the Ontario Research Outline.  
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For further information, see [[Ontario Historical Geography]].  
  
== Maps and gazetteers ==
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== Maps and gazetteers ==
  
 
The following step will help you learn where to find records that may mention your ancestor.  
 
The following step will help you learn where to find records that may mention your ancestor.  
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To find more sources that have maps or give information about places in Alberta, see What to Do Next, and click on Family History Library Catalog.
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To find more sources that have maps or give information about places in Ontario, see What to Do Next, and click on Family History Library Catalog.  
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[[Category:Canada]]

Latest revision as of 02:30, 29 October 2010

Contents

Introduction

Although they were designated by 1800, Ontario counties did not always have their own governments. Early Ontario was divided into a varying number of districts, and each district included several counties. Most early government records were organized on the basis of districts.

Township boundaries in Ontario have changed very little over the years.

County and district boundaries have changed, however, and a township may have been included in different districts and counties at various times.

Background

Although they were designated by 1800, Ontario counties did not always have their own governments. Early Ontario was divided into a varying number of districts, and each district included several counties. Most early government records were organized on the basis of districts.

  • District officials recorded court and probate matters, marriage registers, and some early census records.
  • County officials recorded land transactions.

By 1858, the districts of southern Ontario were abolished and counties became more important.

Ontario districts and counties

Early southern Ontario was called Upper Canada or Canada West. It was divided into:

  • Townships.
  • Counties.
  • Districts.

Each township included a few towns and villages. Each county included several townships. Each district included several counties.

For example:

  • Bloomington Village was in Whitchurch Township.
  • Whitchurch Township was in York County.
  • York County was in the Home District.

Township boundaries remained constant. People often gave the name of their township instead of the name of their village as their address. So people living in Bloomington would say they were "of Whitchurch."

County boundaries shifted somewhat, although less than the district boundaries.

District boundaries underwent several changes in southern Ontario. In 1801 there were seven districts. By 1855 there were twenty districts, although at that time several of the districts included only one county. By 1858 the districts of southern Ontario had been abolished, and the counties became more important. The district marriage registers were discontinued, and county marriage registers began.

Districts in early southern Ontario are not the same as the districts that still exist in modern northern Ontario.

For further information, see Ontario Historical Geography.

Maps and gazetteers

The following step will help you learn where to find records that may mention your ancestor.

Find the place where your ancestor lived using maps and gazetteers.

The maps and gazetteers listed in the following table will help you learn creation dates, boundary changes, and other information about boundaries over the years. Knowing the place can help you find records that may mention your ancestor.

Source Contents

Merriman, Brenda Dougall. Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records. 3rd ed. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 1996.

Outline map of county and district boundaries as they existed in 1960, with maps of earlier political divisions. A chapter on Ontario and Canada census records includes: where to find censuses and how to use them; a list of abbreviations census takers used for major religions; column headings for various census years; and a discussion of artificial counties created for census purposes.

"Map Showing the Electoral Divisions of the Dominion of Canada," Illustrated Atlas of the Dominion of Canada, pp 89 - 91.

Contains maps that roughly correspond to the 1881 census for Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

Supplementary Index to Canadian Records. Vol. 2: Ontario. Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Library, 1985.

This has outline maps of townships and counties as of about 1960, and district maps for 1802, 1826, and 1838. An alphabetical listing of townships gives the county (as of 1960) and the original district that included each township.

Lovell, John, ed. Canadian Dominion Directory for 1871. Montreal: John Lovell, 1871.

This gives the township and county of each community as of 1871. This is important when searching census, land and property, and other records and local histories. The directory also lists about half of the heads of households living in each community.

Bloomfield, G. T. et al. Ontario Central Places in 1871: A Gazetteer Compiled from Contemporary Sources. Guelph, Ont.: Dept. of Geography, University of Guelph, 1990.

Lists Ontario localities and gives the 1871 Census District and Census Subdistrict for each. Gives alternate place names for some localities.

Map of Part of the Province of Upper Canada.

Contains maps for 1792, 1798, 1816, 1826, 1836, 1846, 1856, and 1867. For more maps, see What to Do Next, and click on Family History Library Catalog.

Jonasson, Eric. "The Districts and Counties of Ontario, 1777-1979, Two Centuries of Evolution," in Families. Vol 10, no. 2 (1981), pp 91-102.

This is the standard reference for the development of Ontario townships and counties.

Armstrong, Frederick H. Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology. Rev. ed. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1985.

Includes helpful charts and diagrams for the development of Ontario townships and counties.

Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada: As Divided in the Revision of the Voters' List Made in the Year 1894. Ontario: National Archives of Canada, 1998.

This atlas has maps showing the electoral districts and voting precincts of all provinces. These districts and precincts often match the census districts and subdistricts of the 1901 census.

Gartner, M. E. and C. F. Prong. Townships of the Province of Ontario Canada. Ontario Genealogical Society Nipissing District Branch, 1992.

Maps of modern county boundaries and townships. Includes notes about changes since 1960.

Schindler, Marc A. Administrative Atlas of Canada. Vol. 3: Ontario. Gloucester, Ont.: Schindler-Spring Family Organization, 1988.

Maps of 1991 township, county, district, and other civil boundaries. A gazetteer of major towns which gives the township and county for each.

To find more sources that have maps or give information about places in Ontario, see What to Do Next, and click on Family History Library Catalog.


 

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