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Friday, February 5, 2010

Finding an Ancestor in Ontario before 1864

Nelly asked: I'm looking for James SIMPSON. He was born about 1814 and died in 1864. He was of Irish descent and came to Whitby Ontario about 1835. I'm seeking his marriage record in particular but I'm new to Canadian research and don't know where to start. Are there census records? What about other records?
OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Dear Nelly: You may want to join two lists specifically for Ontario research. One is (for Ontario after 1867). The second is (for Ontario before 1867) You can subscribe to either by sending a subscribe request to and Put SUBSCRIBE in the message body and nothing else.

Since Vital Stats did not begin until 1869, you must consult church records. That means you need to know James' religion. This link should help you with church records

Next, find the family on the available census or assessment records. There is an online 1851 census you search but be aware that not all locations have survived.

you'll have to find out what early census or tax assessment records Whitby has. To do that you need to know the township and county it was/is in. For help with that, see Canada GeoNames or Ontario Locator

That will give you a county and township names now. Then you need to see what District Whitby was in before 1846 because when searching for early records you need to search in the District records as well as the County and/or Township.

There are many more routes you can go in your research of your Ontario family but I'll leave you to start with these

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