Ontario Genealogy

Researching your Genealogy in Ontario, Canada

Doing research on your genealogy in Ontario, Canada, is an exciting endeavor. Let's talk about some of the available sources.

First, let me remind you that Ontario came into existence as a province in 1867. Before then it was known as Upper Canada. Government records for genealogy in Ontario begin in 1869 but, of course, churches and other entities began keeping records much earlier.

Because Canada was part of the British Empire, censuses were kept on the same schedule as in England. The genealogy website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recently announced that censuses for Ontario are now indexed and available for 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881. The census for 1891 will be released soon. This will make researching your genealogy in Ontario much easier.

Birth, marriage and death certificates are available on the Archives of Ontario (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/) and Office of the Registrar General's Online Certificate Application website (https://www.orgforms.gov.on.ca/eForms/start.do?lang=en). The Archives holds indexes and registrations of births 1869-1912, marriages 1801-1927 (predominantly 1869-1927) and deaths, 1869-1937. The Office of the Registrar General holds indexes and registrations of births 1914-present, marriages 1929-present and deaths 1939-present. Ancestry.ca also has some vital records on their site.

The Archives of Ontario also contain many large and small collections of records pertinent to genealogy in Ontario. Among them are land records, church records, newspapers, private collections, diaries, municipal records and photographs. There also hold written histories, biographies and other published material.

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) is an excellent resource for those searching for their genealogy in Ontario. Perhaps their most useful contribution is the transcription of over 95% of the cemeteries in Ontario, and an accompanying index. Their home page can be found at www.ogs.on.ca. All you need to know to search this index is the surname of the person. Death dates are sparse but you can contact the branch of the OGS responsible for that particular cemetery and they may have more information.

Immigration records are another source of genealogy information in Ontario. Because there are a number of sites (both subscription and free) that cover varying time periods and sources, your best bet is use a search engine for Ontario immigration records.

Let me give you an example of genealogy research in Ontario using some of these records. Stephanie Croasdale and her husband Albert were born in England and immigrated to Ontario. By 1955, Albert had died and Stephanie died after 1970. They were childless, but Stephanie had a sister who lived in Ottawa, ON, in the mid-1970s.

Searching the OGS web site for burial records, I found that Albert died in 1954 and Stephanie died in 1973. Stephanie's maiden name is given as Sheldon. They are both buried near Ottawa, Carleton County, and they are the only Croasdales listed on the site. Albert is listed with the initials RCAMC, and he did serve in the British military during WW I.

Albert's death certificate lists him as a band master, age 59 at time of death on 18 Jan 1954. His parents are given as Frederick Croasdale and Mary Lonoworth, and he was born in England as were both of his parents. The informant is Mrs. S. Croasdale.

Stephanie's death certificate says she died 19 July 1973 at age 78. Her father was Stephen Sheldon and her mother was Anne Gillet, both born in England but it gives Stephanie's birth place as Ontario. The informant on her death certificate is G. Reid. Their immigration information, given on the web site ArchiviaNet, shows that they arrived at Quebec, Quebec, on 1 October 1926 - both were age 31 at the time. Now you can determine their year of birth and get into English vital records. As it turned out, Stephanie's place of birth was given incorrectly in her death certificate. They were both born in England and I was able to take both lines back at least 4 generations on all lines.

Now that there are so many sources of genealogy available online for Ontario, doing research is much easier and more enjoyable, and less expensive.

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