The People of Upper Canada

It has often been observed that in Ontario, as well as in almost every other new colony, the early settlers located, as a rule, in groups or clusters according to nationality or religious creed. In the course of a journey through the province one comes upon groups of English, Scots, Irish, French, Germans, etc. The particular nationality or creed in each case determines the characteristic traits of the group — traits which persist through several generations, notwithstanding the leveling tendencies of modern life. 1

The following lists give, by counties, such settlements or groups of the original rural population of Ontario as can be set down in tabular form. The urban portion of our population is too mixed to be amenable to analysis of this kind; the only observable law in this case is that the population of each town or city is mainly recruited from the rural districts in its neighborhood.

It has been deemed advisable to adopt the old division of the frontier portion of the province into eleven districts, because it was the division in use during the first half of the nineteenth century, a period in which the number of immigrants was very large. It is, accordingly, the scheme of division found in tables of statistics of that period, many of which will be useful in connection with this inquiry.

Following this scheme of division the population of Ontario for the years 1817 [Gourlay’s Statistics, vol. I, p. 139] and 1825 is given as follows:








































The portion of the province not included in the above scheme of division is divided into eight districts: Haliburton, Muskoka, Parry Sound, Nipissing, Algoma, Manitoulin Island, Thunder Bay and Rainy River.

The list of settlers for the Eastern District is first given, and those for the other districts follow in order proceeding westward, because in a general way the order of settlement was from east to west. For geographical reasons it was natural that the east should contain the oldest settlement, though the frontier at Niagara was occupied almost as soon as the east.

In this province, as elsewhere, names of political and religious significance are often the most convenient for the designation of the various groups.

Absolute accuracy is not claimed for the numbers and locations of these groups. The lists, however, are substantially correct, except that in some cases they may be incomplete. The date of settlement is sometimes given approximately, and sometimes there is given an approximation to the number of original families in each group.

Societies for the study of local history, as well as individuals, can accomplish good work by making additions to these lists, by furnishing accurate dates of settlement and the numbers of families in the various
groups. The compiler will be pleased to receive such amendments from anyone who will take the trouble to write to him.

Besides the groups given in the schedules many localities were wholly or partially settled by migrations from earlier occupied parts of the province.

In the counties of Victoria, Ontario, Simcoe, York, Wellington, Waterloo and Oxford (in other words, the central portion of the province), the population is very complex, including not only many nationalities and creeds, but also differing widely as to their race origin. If I may be permitted to express an opinion of the relative merits of settlements, I should say the least progressive peoples are found where there has been the least mixture. Where settlers of a kind are bunched together, they retain old customs more tenaciously ; and there is something to be said in favor of Colonel Talbot s whim in connection with his settlement of Howard Township (Kent County), which he peopled on the checkerboard plan, or alternately, so that no two settlers of the same nationality should be side by side.

But little information can be gleaned from census reports since 1861 bearing on the question of the national origins of the earliest settlers, and even the earlier reports are useful only in connection with {182}the largest or most prominent settlements. I have therefore relied chiefly upon other sources. It would be difficult to cite book, newspaper and personal authorities from whom information was obtained in the preparation of these lists. Tins would take up nearly as much space as the tables themselves, and would supply no new facts. But several persons have been kind enough to revise my notes of particular districts, each for the district with which he was best acquainted, and I wish to acknowledge my obligations for these services. These correspondents, in various parts of the province, have been: C. C. James, for the easterly districts; George E. Laidlaw, for Victoria County; David Boyle, for Wellington County and contiguous territory; Jas. H. Coyne, for the Lake Erie frontier; A. C. Osborne, for the Nipissing District; Frank Yeigh, for the Rainy River District.

The most striking feature of our ethnography is the rapid inter-mixture of peoples. Accordingly the question of mixed races will be the most difficult to any one who wishes to analyse the population scientifically. But the intermixture is never so great that the original groups cannot be discerned, even after three or four generations.

Besides the white races, there are two others that should not be omitted:

(1) The various Indian bands whose statistics I have derived from the report for the year ending June, 1898.

(2) Several settlements of negroes.

For the clearing up of many problems in the heredity of mixed races, endless examples may be found in Ontario, and the student of anthropology can there find a rich field for investigation.


Glengarry County

Groups of Immigrants     Townships where settled
French-Canadians Lancaster, Charlottenburg, Lochiel.
Scots (Highland Catholics – in 1782.The original settlement consisted of 85 Macdonalds and 35 Grants.Some Highland Protestants also settled in these townships. Lancaster, Charlottenburg, Lochiel, Kenyon.
Irish (Catholics) Kenyo

Stormont County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Cornwall, Roxborough, Finch.
Scots (Highland) Cornwall, Roxborough, Finch.
Irish (Catholics) Cornwall, Osnabruck, Roxborough, Finch.
U. E. Loyalists (Dutch and Germans from Schoharie, N. Y.) – settled about 1784. Cornwall.
U. E. Loyalists (Germans) – settled about 1784. Osnabruck.

Dundas County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
Irish Williamsburg, Matilda, Winchester, Mountain.
U. E. Loyalists (chiefly Dutch and Germans) – settled in 1784 and later years Williamsburg, Matilda.



Prescott County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Hawkesbury (East and West), Longueuil, Alfred, Plantagenet.
Irish (Catholics) E. Hawkesbury, Plantagenet.

Russell County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Clarence, Cumberland, Cambridge, Russell.
Irish Clarence, Cumberland, Russell.



Carleton County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Gloucester.
Scots (from the central counties of Scotland, in 1826) Osgoode, Torbolton, Fitzroy.
“Perth Military Settlement” (chiefly Scots, in 1816) Goulbourn.
Irish (Protestants from the north of Ireland) Gloucester, Osgoode, Nepean, Marlborough, Goulbourn, March, Huntley, Fitzroy.
Irish (Catholics) Huntley, Goulbourn.

Lanark County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians (25 families at first; isolated, and now speaking English) Lavant.
Scots (“Perth Military Settlement,” in 1816) Beckwith, Drummond, Bathurst, Burgess.
Scots (Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire weavers. About 1832 many left their rocky land grants in Dalhousie and went to Simcoe Co. and other westerly counties) Ramsay, Lanark, Dalhousie.
Scots (Perthshire) Montague, Beckwith, North Elmsley, Drummond.
Scots (from the eastern borders of Scotland) Ramsay, Pakenham.
Irish (Protestants from the north of Ireland) Montague, North Elmsley, Ramsay, Pakenham, Beckwith.
Irish (Catholics) Drummond, Bathurst, Burgess.
U. E. Loyalists (a few along the Rideau River) Montague, North Elmsley.

Renfrew County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
Scots (Highland, the “McNab Settlement.” Formed about 1823. McNab, Horton, Ross.
Scots (Lowland, small settlement) Bromley.
Irish Bagot, Admaston, Ross, Bromley, Westmeath, Grattan, Wilberforce.
Germans (settled chiefly in the sixties) Horton, Bromley, Pembroke, Grattan, Wilberforce, Alice, Sebastopol, North Algona, Brudenell, Raglan.
Poles (small settlement in Hagarty Township) P. O. Wilno.
Indians (Algonquins of North Renfrew; population 286) Allumette Island and vicinity.
Indians (Algonquins of Golden Lake; population 91) Algona



Grenville County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Augusta.
U. E. Loyalists (settled in 1784 and later years) Edwardsburgh, Augusta, Oxford, Wolford.

Leeds County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Elizabethtown.
Irish (Protestants) Bastard.
Irish (Catholics) Kitley, South Elmsley, Crosby (North and South).
U. E. Loyalists (settled in 1784 and later years) Elizabethtown, Yonge.
U. S. settlers (later) Escott



Frontenac County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
Irish (Catholics) Pittsburgh, Loughborough, Kingston, Wolfe Island.
U. E. Loyalists (settled in 1784 and later years) Pittsburgh, Kingston.

Lennox and Addington County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Kaladar, Anglesea.
Irish (Catholics), 1825 and later Amherst Island, Ernestown, Camden, Sheffield.
Germans (from the Renfrew settlement) Denbigh, Abinger.
U. E. Loyalists (These came almost entirely from the State of New York, Dutchess and adjacent counties along the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. They were of mixed blood, but almost all had some Dutch and some German Palatine, settled in 1784 and later years) Ernestown, Adolphustown, Fredericksburgh, Richmond.
Quakers (from Dutchess County, New York, 1790) Adolphustown.

Hastings County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Elzevir, Hungerford.
English Thurlow, Sydney, Rawdon, Madoc.
Irish (Protestants). Extensive settlement. Thurlow, Sydney, Hungerford, Huntingdon, Madoc, Marmora.
Irish (Catholics) Rawdon, Tudor.
U. E. Loyalists (Extensive settlement. In 1784 and succeeding years). Thurlow, Sydney.
Indians (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte; population 1,228). Tyendinaga.

Prince Edward County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Hallowell, Marysburgh.
Irish (Protestants), from County Down. All the townships, but Hallowell chiefly.
Irish (Catholics) Athol, Hillier.
U. E. Loyalists (Germans) settled in 1784 and succeeding years. Sophiasburgh, Hallowell, Ameliasburgh.
Discharged Hessian soldiers Marysburgh. Forty families, most of whom afterwards left.
Quakers (from Long Island and Dutchess County, N. Y., and from Pennsylvania) Hillier, Hallowell.



Peterborough County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Asphodel, Otonabee, Smith, Douro, Dummer.
Scots Asphodel, Otonabee, Smith.
Irish (Protestants) Asphodel, Otonabee, North Monaghan, Smith, Douro, Dummer.
Irish (Catholics), Peter Robinson’s, in 1824 [sic – 1825] Smith, Ennismore [Douro, Emily].
Indians (Mississaugas, population 164) Mud Lake.
Indians (Mississaugas, population 79) Rice Lake.

Northumberland County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (many of them were retired military officers, 1820-35) Haldimand, Hamilton.
Scots Haldimand, Hamilton.
Irish Haldimand, Hamilton, Percy, Seymour, Murray.
U. S. Settlers (1798-1812, from New York, Pennsylvania and New England States) Haldimand, Hamilton.
Indians (Mississaugas, population 228) Alnwick.

Victoria County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Somerville, Bexley, Eldon.
English Bexley, Eldon, Fenelon, Mariposa.
Scots (Highland. Protestants. Extensive settlement) Somerville, Bexley, Fenelon, Verulum, Mariposa, Emily.
Scots (Lowland) Somerville, Verulum (a few), Mariposa.
Irish (Protestants) Somerville, Bexley, Fenelon, Verulum, Mariposa, Emily.
Irish (Catholics) Emily, Verulum, Bexley, Laxton, Digby, Longford.
Irish (Catholics). Extensively. Ops, Eldon, Carden.

Durham County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Darlington.
Cornish Clarke, Hope.
Scots (Highland) Clarke, Darlington.
Irish (Protestants) Cartwright, Manvers, Cavan, Darlington, Clarke, Hope.



Ontario County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (Extensive settlement) Pickering, Uxbridge, Reach, Brock.
English (from Cornwall) Whitby.
Scots (Lowland) Pickering, Whitby.
Scots (Highland. Protestants. Begun in 1831) Thorah, Brock, Reach.
Scots (Highland. Catholics. This group has sometimes been called “Jacobites” in historical literature relating to the district). Mara.
Irish (some Irish Palatines in Brock) Mara, Brock, Reach, Pickering.
Settlers from the United States. (Dutch and Quakers. These arrived at about the same time as their companions in Markham Township, viz. about 1805). Pickering, Whitby.
Indians (Chipewas, population 236) Rama.
Indians (Mississaugas, population 38) Scugog.

York County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians (20 families) Georgina, North Gwillimbury, East Gwillimbury.
English (from the west of England in 1820) Vaughan, Markham.
English (from other counties of England at a later date) Etobicoke, York, King, Whitchurch, Scarboro, East Gwillimbury.
Scots (from Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, in 1800) Scarboro.
Scots (Highland) Vaughan, King, Markham, York.
Scots (from Annandale, Dumfriesshire, in 1840) Vaughan.
Irish (from the north of Ireland) Etobicoke, York, Scarboro, Vaughan, Markham, King, Whitchurch, East Gwillimbury.
Germans (Berczy’s 60 families, in 1794) Markham.
French (Royalists. Twenty families, in 1798) King and Whitchurch (along Yonge Street, the boundary between the two townships).
Settlers from New York State, in 1800. Many of these subsequently were formed into a religious sect, the followers of one David Wilson, and known as “Davidites”) East Gwillimbury.
Quakers (from Pennsylvania, chiefly in 1805, though 40 families came in 1800) King, Whitchurch.
Pennsylvania Dutch (in 1805) York, Vaughan, Markham.
Mennonists or Tunkers Whitchurch (on Yonge Street).
Negroes (a few) Vaughan, King, York, Etobicoke.
Indians (Chipewas, population 124) Georgina and Snake Islands.

Simcoe County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians (begun in 1828) Tiny, Tay.
English (from northern counties of England. Begun in 1820). Oro and Vespra. (25 families at first), Medonte, Tecumseth, West Gwillimbury.
Scots (from Sutherlandshire at first. Immigrants with Lord Selkirk’s Red River colonists. Seventeen families, about 1820, located here) West Gwillimbury.
Scots (from Islay, Argyleshire. Begun in 1832) Oro and Nottawasaga chiefly, and a few families of the same migration into Medonte, Orillia, Sunnidale.
Scots (Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire, via Dalhousie Township, Ont., in 1832. Many Glasgow and Paisley weavers were among these) Innisfil, Essa.
Scots (Dumfriesshire; 1832 to 1850) Innisfil.
Irish (begun in 1830. Protestants. From Ulster. Extensive settlement) West Gwillimbury, Tecumseth, Innisfil, Essa, Tossorontio.
Irish (Catholics, begun in 1830) Adjala, Vespra, Flos, Medonte, Nottawasaga.
Irish (from Londonderry in 1850, etc) Innisfil.
Germans (begun with 10 families, in 1834) Nottawasaga.
Negroes (Begun in 1828) Oro (20 families), Sunnidale.
Indians (Chippewas; population 266) Beausoleil and Christian Islands.

Peel County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (from northern counties of England). Caledon, Chinguacousy, Albion, Toronto, Toronto Gore.
Scots (Highland, begun in 1818) Chinguacousy, Caledon, Toronto.
Irish (from the North of Ireland, Protestants. Extensive settlement) Caledon, Toronto, Albion, Chinguacousy.

Grey County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Bentinck, Egremont, St. Vincent.
Scots (Lowland) Normanby, Egremont.
Scots (Highland) Bentinck, Glenelg.
Irish (from the North of Ireland, Protestants. Extensive settlement) Artemesia, Bentinck, Collingwood, Sullivan, Holland, Normanby.
Germans Bentinck, Normanby.
Negroes (a few) Sydenham, Euphrasia, Bentinck, Normanby.

Dufferin County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
Scots East Garafraxa.
Irish (Protestants, from Ulster. Extensive settlement) Mulmur, Mono, Amaranth, Melancthon, East Luther.
Negroes (a few) Melancthon.



Wentworth County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Ancaster, Barton, Binbrook, Beverley, Flamboro’, Glanford, Saltfleet.
Scots (Lowland) Flamboro’, Ancaster, Binbrook, Beverley.
Irish Ancaster, Barton, Beverley, Flamboro’, Saltfleet.
U. E. Loyalists. (Some Dutch or Germans from New Jersey) Ancaster, Beverley.
Germans (from the United States) Glanford, East Flamboro’.
Negroes Barton.

Halton County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Esquesing, Nelson, Trafalgar.
Scots (Highland. Presbyterians) Esquesing, Trafalgar, Nelson, Nassagaweya.
Scots (Begun in 1819, from the border districts of Scotland; also a few from Barnet, Vt. Part of Esquesing is called the “Scotch Block”) Esquesing.
Irish (from the North of Ireland) Esquesing, Nassagaweya, Nelson, Trafalgar.

Waterloo County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians North Waterloo, Wilmot.
English Wellesley.
Scots (Highland via Caledonia, N. Y.) North Dumfries, Woowich, South Waterloo, Wellesley.
Scots (Lowland) North Dumfries.
Irish Wellesley.
Germans (Begun in 1826. Extensive. Part of this settlement is called the “Amisch” Settlement, having been made up of Ami, the chief seceder of a religious sect. Waterloo (North and South), Wilmot, Wellesley, Woolwich.
Mennonists (in 1801) Waterloo.
Pennsylvania Germans (in 1806) Waterloo.
Settlers from the United States. Hon. Wm. Dickson’s (Shade’s) settlement in 1816 North Dumfries.
Negroes Wellesley.

Brant County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Brantford, Burford.
Scots (Highland) South Dumfries.
Scots (border districts) South Dumfries, Brantford.
Irish Brantford.
Indians (Six Nations; total population, 3,929) Onondaga, Tuscarora.

Wellington County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (from Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire) Erin, Eramosa, Guelph, Puslinch, W. Garafraxa, Peel, Pilkington.
North Welsh and Cornish Pilkington.
English and Scots (via Susquehanna County, Pa., in 1818 and subsequent years) Eramosa.
Scots (Paisley weavers) in 1827 Guelph.
Scots (Aberdeenshire) Minto, Arthur, Nichol, W. Garafraxa, Erin.
Scots (Midlothian) Guelph, Nichol.
Scots (Highland. One settlement from Badenoch, Inverness, another from Loch Broom, Rossshire, and a large settlement from Argyleshire) Puslinch (extensively).
Irish Arthur (extensively), Eramosa, Erin, Garafraxa, Guelph, Maryborough, Puslinch, Peel (extensively).
Germans (Lutherans) Guelph, Pilkington, Puslinch.
Germans (Catholics) Puslinch.
Pennsylvania Dutch Puslinch.
Negroes (a few) Peel.

The townships of Maryborough, Peel and adjacent townships were popularly called “The Queen’s Bush,” and were settled in the fifties and sixties chiefly by settlers from older parts of Ontario.



Haldimand County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (including many military and naval officers) Dunn, Cayuga (North and South), Rainham, Walpole.
Irish (Catholics) Dunn, Canboro, North Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca, Walpole.
U. E. Loyalists Walpole, Seneca, North Cayuga, Oneida.
Germans (from Pennsylvania) Rainham.
Indians (Mississaugas who removed from River Credit, Ont., population, 246) Oneida.

Welland County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Stamford, Thorald, Wainfleet.
Irish (Catholics) Thorald, Humberstone, Stamford.
U. E. Loyalists (1780-1790) Bertie (145 families at first; Crowland, 80; Humberstone, 100; Pelham, 120; Stamford, 140; Thorold, 100; Wainfleet, 115; Willoughby, 60.
Germans Humberstone, Bertie, Willoughby.
Negroes (a few) Bertie, Stamford, Willoughby.

Lincoln County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Grantham.
Irish (Catholics) Grantham.
Germans Gainsborough.
U. E. Loyalists Louth, Niagara.
Butler’s Rangers (in 1784) Niagara, 250 families; Grantham, 200.
Mennonists Louth.



Perth County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians (few) Logan, Ellice.
English (Devon and Cornwall) Blanshard, Downie, Fullerton.
Scots Blanshard, Downie, Fullerton, Hibbert, Logan, Elma, Mornington, North Easthope.
Irish Blanshard, Downie, Hibbert, Ellice, North Easthope, Mornington, Elma, Wallace.
Swiss (small settlement) Easthope (North and South).
Germans (from Waterloo County) Easthope (North and South), Ellice, Fullerton, Logan.
Alsatians (few) Downie.

Bruce County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
Scots (mainly from Argyleshire) Huron, Kinloss, Culross, Kincardine, Greenock, Bruce, Saugeen, Elderslie.
Irish Arran, Brant.
Irish (Catholics) Culross, Carrick.
Germans (Catholics) Culross, Carrick.
GermansSome of the Port Elgin first settlers (Saugeen Township) were Germans from Waterloo. Brant, Carrick.
Indians (Chippewas; population, 357) Saugeen.
Indians (Chippewas; population 398) Nawash.

Oxford County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (Lincolnshire) Blenheim, Blandford, East Zorra, Oxford, Dereham.
Scots (Protestant). Sutherlandshire, etc., but many here are also from the Hebrides, e.g. Uist., and are therefore called “Uisters”. The latter are Catholics in religion. The initial Highland settlement in Zorra consisted of 150 families. Blenheim, Blandford, Zorra (East and West), and East Nissouri.
Irish Dereham.
Settlers from the United States (begun in 1793) Blenheim.
Quakers (from the United States). Extensive settlement. Norwich.
Germans East Zorra, Blenheim.
Negroes South Norwich.

Huron County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English (Devonshire). There is also a small settlement of English from Wiltshire in Colborne Township. Hullet, Stephen, Usborne.
Scots (both Highland and Lowland) Goderich, Colborne, Ashfield, McKillop, Grey, Stanley, Tuckersmith.
Irish (both Protestants and Catholics) Ashfield, Goderich, McKillop, Wawanosh.
Germans Howick, Hay, Stephen.

Huron and Perth counties formed what was known as the “Huron Tract”. It was settled by the Canada Company, beginning in 1827.

Elgin County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Bayham, Malahide, Southwold.
Scots (Highland. Those in Aldborough were from Lord Selkirk’s Red River band) Aldborough, Dunwich, Southwold, Yarmouth, South Dorchester.
Irish Dunwich, Southwold, Yarmouth.
Settlers from the United States Bayham, Malahide, Yarmouth (South) (also a few of the first settlers in the south of Dunwich).
Pennsylvania Dutch Malahide.
Germans (mostly Evangelical Lutherans) Aldborough

The “Talbot” Settlement was the general name given to the territory in which Elgin County is situated. In the formation of this settlement Colonel Talbot arranged that Howard Township (Kent County) should be settled alternately on the checker-board plan, so that settlers of the same nationality should not receive farms side by side.

Norfolk County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Woodhouse, Townsend, Walsingham.
Irish Walsingham, Woodhouse.
Germans (Protestants, from Wirtemberg, 80 families came in 1847) Middleton.
U. E. Loyalists, about 1793 Woodhouse, Charlotteville, Walsingham.

This is what was known as the “Long Point Settlement”. Many came from New Jersey.  See Ontario Historical Society, Papers and Records, No. 2.

Middlesex County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Lobo, Westminster, McGillivray, North Dorchester, London.
Scots (Highland, mostly Presbyterian. Extensive settlement) Lobo, Williams, London, Ekfrid, Mosa, Caradoc, Westminster, West Nissouri, North Dorchester.
Irish (Catholics) Biddulph, McGillvray, London, Nissouri.
Settlers from Genesee, N. Y. (about 1830) Williams.
Pennsylvania Dutch North Dorchester.
Indians (Chippewas, population, 447) Caradoc.
Indians (Munsees of the Thames, population, 120) Caradoc.
Indians (Oneidas, population, 808) Delaware.



Essex County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians (about 1750) Anderdon, Maidstone, Sandwich, Malden, Rochester, West Tilbury.
English (from the northern counties of England) Maidstone, Mersea, Gosfield.
Negroes Colchester, East Sandwich.
Indians (Wyandottes) – These are said to be the old Tobacco Nation from Georgian Bay. They have chiefly moved to the Western States, leaving a population of only ten. Anderdon.

Kent County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians (from the Province of Quebec, about 1837) Dover, East Tilbury.
English (Northern counties) Romney, Harwich, Howard, Orford.
Scots (Lowland) Camden, Chatham, Harwich, Howard, Orford.
Scots (Selkirk’s “Baldoon” Highlanders in 1803; 110 persons) Dover.
Settlers from the United States (mostly from Pa., of German origin) Raleigh.
Negroes (two settlements) Raleigh, Camden.
Indians (Moravians of the Thames; population 354) Orford.
Indians (Chippewas; population 624) Walpole Island.
Indians (Pottawattamies; population 181) Walpole Island.

Lambton County

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
English Bosanquet, Plympton.
Scots (Selkirk’s Highlanders) Sombra.
Scots (Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Perthshire, about 1833) Sarnia, Plympton, Moore.
Irish Moore, Plympton, Warwick.
Negroes (two settlements) Raleigh, Camden.
Indians (Chippewas; population 446) Bosanquet, Sarnia.

In Sarnia Township there was a settlement on the Owen System, “of having all things common,” the system received its name from Robert Owen, the apostle of co-operation.




Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Lutterworth, Minden.
English Lutterworth.

An English land company obtained a block of townships in Haliburton for settlement. These consisted of Guilford, Harburn, Bruton and the six townships lying immediately north of these. Here, however, as elsewhere throughout the province, the bulk of settlers moved from parts settled earlier.


Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Baxter, Gibson, Freeman.
Settlers from older parts of Ontario In all the townships.
Indians (Iroquois and Algonquins, from Oka, Quebec; population 125) Gibson.

Parry Sound

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Wallbridge and five adjacent townships, Nipissing, Himsworth.
Germans (Catholics) Gurd, Nipissing, Himsworth.
Swiss In the same.
Settlers from older parts of Ontario In nearly all the townships, though sparsely in many.
Indians (Ojibways of Lake Huron) Parry Island, population 103; Shawanaga, population 110; Magnetewan, population 70; Henvey’s Inlet population 199).


Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Papineau, Calvin, Bonfield, Ferris, McKim, Blezard.
French-Canadians (repatriated under Father Paradis, from the Western States) Caldwell, Kirkpatrick, Hugel.
English (chiefly via older townships) Calvin.
Scots (Highland) via older townships Ferris.
Germans Ferris.
Swedes Ratter, Dunnet (near Warren Station).
Poles (miners) Broder, McKim.
Finns (miners) McKim.
Indians (Ojibways) Lake Nipissing population 200; Temagamingue population 78; Dokis’ Rserve, French River population 79; Tagawinini band, Lake Wanapitae population 160.


Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Rayside, Balfour, Snider, Graham, Hallam, Rutherford (Killarney), Spanish River, Mississauga Thessalon. Also at Chapleau station and other points along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Germans (an offshoot from the Renfrew settlement) Balfour, Dowling, Creighton.
Settlers from older parts of Ontario In many townships, though sparsely.
Indians (Ojibways of Lake Huron) Point Grondin population 61; White Fish River population 35; Spanish River pop. 690; Serpent River pop. 118; Mississauga River pop. 168; Thessalon River pop. 196; Garden River pop. 439; Batchewana Bay pop. 353).

Manitoulin Island

Settlers from older parts of Ontario make up the chief portion of the white population.


Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
Indians (Ojibways and Ottawas) Wikemikong pop. 999; Wikwemikongsing pop. 122; Shebuiandah pop. 94; South Bay pop. 63; Sucker Creek pop. 93; West Bay pop. 324; Sheshegwaning pop. 171; Cockburn Island pop. 56.


Thunder Bay

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians White River, Schreiber and other points along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Settlers from older parts of Ontario Sparsely in various townships.
Cornish and Norwegian (miners) Port Arthur.
Indians (Ojibways of Lake Superior) Micipicoten and Big Heads pop. 332; Long Lake pop. 289; Pie River pop. 211; Pays Plat pop. 46; Lake Nepigon pop. 465; Red Rock pop. 193; Fort William pop. 245.

Rainy River

Groups of Immigrants Townships where settled
French-Canadians Rat Portage, Norman and other points along the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Also a settlement at Pine River, near Lake of the Woods.
Settlers from older parts of Ontario Almost exclusively taken up the agricultural lands along the Rainy River. These have come from Bruce, Grey, Simcoe and Ontario counties, and Muskoka, and are English, Scotch or Irish.
Scandinavian (miners) Rat Portage (Sultans Gold Mine). The miners in this district consist chiefly of foreign elements, but these are as yet transitory.
Indians (Chippewas and Saulteaux of Treaty No. 3) Hungry Hall pop. 58; Long Sault pop. 99; Manitou Rapids pop. 123; Little Forks pop. 46; Coutcheeching pop. 137; and other Reserves. (For latest census returns see Indian Report).



  1. Excerpted from A. F. Hunter, “The Ethnographical Elements of Ontario,” Ontario History, vol. iii (1901), pp. 180-199.

The Districts of Upper Canada

In books and documents dealing with the history of Ontario references are frequently found to various divisions of the province, as, for example, the District of Hesse, the London Dis­trict, or the County of Carleton, names which have either dis­appeared from present-day maps or refer to divisions the boun­daries of which have been greatly altered. It is hoped that the following sketch of these subdivisions may serve as a convenient reference for students.1

With the coming of the Loyalists into the western part of the old Province of Quebec some means had to be devised for the government of this, as yet, very sparsely settled territory. So, on 24 July 1788 the Governor-in-Chief, Lord Dorchester, issued a proclamation2 dividing this territory into four districts (see Map 1):

  1. Luneburg, “bounded on the east by the eastern limit of a tract lately called or known by the name of Lancaster, pro­tracted northerly and southerly as far as our said Province extends, and bounded westerly by a north and south line intersect­ing the mouth of the river Gananoque, now called the Thames, above the rifts of the St. Lawrence, and extending southerly and northerly to the limits of our said province, therein comprehend­ing the several towns or tracts called or known by the names of Lancaster, Charlottenburg, Cornwall, Osnabruck, Williamsburg, Matilda, Edwardsburg, Augusta and Elizabethtown.”
  2. Mecklenburg, extending from the western limits of Lune­burg to a north and south line intersecting the mouth of the River Trent at its discharge “into the head of the Bay of Quinty and therein comprehending the several towns or tracts called or known by the names Pittsburg, Kingstown, Ernestown, Fred­ericksburg, Adolphustown, Marysburg, Sophiasburg, Ameliasburg, Sydney, Thurlow, Richmond and Camden.”
  3. Nassau, extending westerly from Mecklenburg “to a north and south line intersecting the extreme projection of Long Point into the lake Erie” and
  4. Hesse, comprehending “all the residue of our said Pro­vince in the western or inland parts thereof: of the entire breadth thereof from the southerly to the northerly boundary of the same.”

In assigning German names to these districts it may have been the intention to honour the royal family: Luneburg is taken from the former principality of Brunswick-Luneburg, part of the King­dom of Hanover; George Ill’s queen was Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; and among the ancestresses of George III were a Countess of Nassau and a Duchess of Hesse-Darmstadt. G. C. Paterson, however, states3 that the districts were so named “out of consideration for the large German element in the United Empire Loyalist population.”

For purposes of parliamentary representation and also for militia purposes these districts were divided by a proclamation of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe, dated 16 July 1792, into the nineteen original counties of Upper Canada: Glengary,4 Stormont, Dundas, Grenvill,[sic] Leeds, Frontenac, Ontario,5 Addington, Lenox,[sic] Prince Edward, Hastings, Northumberland, Durham, York, Lin­coln, Norfolk, Suffolk,6 Essex7 and Kent.8 were included in a strip four miles wide along the south shore of Lake St. Clair and in the town of Detroit.” – “The First Legislators of Upper Canada,” Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Sec. II, 1902, p. 113. For the exact boundaries see Simcoe’s proclamation (Fourth Report of the Ontario Bureau of Archives (1906), pp. 176-181.] These divisions (the name ‘Ontario’ has been omitted) are shown on Map 2. In this list of counties it will be noted that the names assigned to the counties west of Hastings are in order the names of the counties in England which border on the North Sea and the Straits of Dover, reading from north to south. For the several counties Simcoe named “County Lieu­tenants”, answering to the Lords Lieutenant of English counties, to whom was committed the organization and command of the county militia, and on whose recommendation the magistrates were appointed.9 It was not, however, until 1849 that the County succeeded the District as a division for municipal and judicial purposes.

From the formation of the districts in 1788 until 1841 the management of local affairs in each district was committed to the District Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, com­posed of magistrates appointed by the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor in Council. The system of municipal government by appointed justices was, of course, of British origin, where, until 1835, the rural districts of England were governed by the abso­lute patriarchal sway of the Justices of the Peace. But this sys­tem had also been introduced and developed in the American colonies: the Loyalists would therefore be accustomed to such a system. The powers of these courts were many and varied, and included much of the work later (after 1841) entrusted to muni­cipal councils. Their powers included 10 the erection and man­agement of court-houses, gaols and asylums; the laying out and improvement of the highways; the making of assessments there­for and also “to pay the wages of members of the House of Assembly”; the making of regulations to prevent accidental fires; the appointment of district and township constables; fixing the fees of gaolers, of town or parish clerks, and of pound keepers; the appointment of street and highway surveyors, and inspectors of weights and measures; the regulation of ferries; the establish­ment and regulation of markets in various towns; and the grant­ing of certificates to applicants for licenses to sell liquor, and to ministers or clergymen of “dissenting” congregations authorizing them to solemnize marriages. The districts of these early days were thus very important political divisions, for the work of the district councils affected very closely the daily life of the in­habitants.

The four original districts—renamed in the opening session of the first parliament of Upper Canada by 32 Geo. HI, c. 8, the “Eastern”, “Midland”, “Home”, and “Western” districts—had, by 1 January 1800, been increased by subdivisions to eight, the Johnstown, Niagara, London and Newcastle districts having been thus formed.11 These districts are shown on Map 1. At the same time the number of counties was increased and in some cases their boundaries were changed. The territories contained in these districts in 1800 were as fol­lows:

  1. Eastern District — Counties of Glengarry, Stormont, Dundas, Prescott, Russell.
  2. Johnstown District — Counties of Grenville, Leeds, Carleton. (Carleton County, then altogether west of the Rideau River, in­cluding part of the present Carleton, Lanark, and part of Renfrew, was later divided info, the counties of Carleton and Lanark by 4 Geo. IV, c. 5.)
  3. Midland District — Counties of Frontenac (to which was added at this time the old county of Ontario), Lenox and Addington, Hastings, Prince Edward, “with all that tract of country which lies between the district of Johnstown and a line drawn north sixteen degrees west from the northwest angle of the town­ship of Rawdon, till it intersects the northern limits of the province, together with all the islands in the Ottawa River, wholly or in greater part opposite thereto.”
  4. Newcastle District—Counties of Northumberland and Durham “with all the lands in their rear, confined within their extreme boundaries, produced north sixteen degrees west, until they intersect the northern limits of the province.”
  5. Home District — County of York: the east riding of the county (west of the county of Durham); and the west riding of the county (the townships of Beverly and Flamborough and “so much of the tract of land upon the Grand River in the occupa­tion of the Six Nations Indians as lies to the northward of Dundas Street, and all the land between the said tract and the east riding of the county of York, with the reserved lands in the rear of the townships of Blenheim and Blanford.”)
  6. Niagara District — Counties of Lincoln (four ridings) and Haldimand.
  7. London District — Counties of Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex, “with so much of the province as lies to the westward of the Home District and the District of Niagara, to the southward of Lake Huron, and between them and a line drawn north from a fixed boundary, (where the easternmost limits of the township of Oxford intersects the River Thames,) till it arrives at Lake Huron.”
  8. Western District—Essex and Kent “with so much of the province as is not included within any other district thereof.”

For some years the above districts remained unchanged, but, with an increase in population and wider settlement, demands arose for the creation of new districts. A few changes were made after 1820, but the greater number were made after 1835. Map 3 shows the districts in 1836. In 1849, when the County first -became the unit of division for municipal and judicial, as well as for parliamentary purposes, there were twenty districts in Canada West. Their boundaries are shown on Map 4.

  1. Eastern — Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry.
  2. Ottawa — Prescott, Russell.
  3. Dalhousie — Carleton (Erected into a separate district in 1838 from parts of the districts of Bathurst, Johnstown and Ottawa, by 1 Vic., c. 25.)
  4. Johnstown — Leeds and Grenville.
  5. Bathurst12 — Lanark and Renfrew.
  6. Midland — Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
  7. Victoria — Hastings (Erected into a separate district, 1837, by 7 Wm. IV, c. 31).
  8. Prince Edward — Prince Edward (Separated from the Midland District, 1831, by 1 Wm. IV, c. 7).
  9. Newcastle — Northumberland and Durham.
  10. Colborne—Peterborough — then including Victoria (Separated from the Newcastle District, 1838, by 7 Wm. IV, c. 115).
  11. Home — York—-then including Ontario and Peel.
  12. Simcoe — Simcoe (Separated from the Home District, 1821, by 2 Geo. IV, c. 3, s. 7; erected into a separate district, 1837, by 7 Wm. IV, c. 32).
  13. Gore — Wentworth, Halton, and part of Brant (Formed out of parts of the Home and Niagara Districts in 1816 by 56 Geo. Ill, c. 19).
  14. Niagara — Lincoln, Welland, and part of Haldimand.
  15. Talbot — Norfolk and the remainder of Haldimand (Erected into a separate district in 1837 by 7 Wm. IV, c. 33).
  16. Western — Essex, Kent and Lambton.
  17. London — Elgin and a portion of Middlesex.
  18. Brock — Oxford—including part of Brant (Erected into a separate district, 1837, by 7 Wm. IV. c. 30).
  19. Wellington — Waterloo, Wellington, Grey and part of Perth (Erected into a separate district in 1838 by 7 Wm. IV, c. 116).
  20. Huron — Part of Middlesex and all the organized portions of the present county of Huron (Erected into a separate district in 1838 by 1 Vic., c. 26).

The province ceased to be divided into districts in 1849. The change was made by 12 Victoria, c. 78, s. 2: “The division of that part of the Province called Upper Canada, into Districts for judicial and other purposes, shall be and the same is hereby abolished.”


  1. Excerpted from George W. Spragge, “The Districts of Upper Canada, 1788-1849,” Ontario History, vol. xxxix (1947), pp. 91-100.
  2. The text is given in the Fourth Report of the Ontario Bureau of Archives (1906), p. 157.
  3. In “Land Settlement in Upper Canada” (Report of the Ontario Department of Records and Archives for 1920), 24.
  4. Sic – this is the original spelling.
  5. Consisting of Amherst, Simcoe, Wolfe and Howe Islands.
  6. Suffolk appears to have included the territory which now forms the counties of Middlesex and Elgin. It disappeared when the Act 38 Geo. III, c. 5, stating what townships were included in the various counties was proclaimed 1 January 1800.
  7. Roughly, Essex included the present Essex and Kent counties.
  8. Except for a strip four miles deep along the south shore of Lake St. Clair, Kent County was north of the Thames, and included all the lands not in the possession of or reserved for Indians and not included in other districts. “A large county surely,” wrote C. C. James, “but the voters [for members of the first Parliament of Upper Canada
  9. A list of the first Count)’ Lieutenants may he found in R. S .Woods, Harrison Hall and its Associations (Chatham), 1896, p. 142.
  10. C. W. R. Biggar, The Municipal Manual (Toronto, 1900, 11th. ed.), pp. 1-3.
  11. 38 Geo. III, c. 5. The royal assent to this Act was promulgated by proclamation on 1 January 1800. The District of Newcastle, however, was not proclaimed until June, 1802. See Report of the Ontario Archives, 1906, p. 290.
  12. It is somewhat disconcerting to find that the County of Carleton was erected into the District of Bathurst, and a little later to find that the County of Carleton was erected into the District of Dalhousie, the District of Bathurst being composed of the counties of Lanark and Renfrew. The explanation is that the County of Carleton after 1800 was composed of what is now part of Carleton County, Lanark County, and part of Renfrew County. This was proclaimed a separate district by the name of Bathurst, 13 November 1882. Then, by Geo. IV, c. 5 (1824), Carleton County was divided into the counties of Carleton and Lanark, the area of Carleton being restricted to seven townships. In 1838 Carleton County was enlarged and erected into the District of Dalhousie, part of old Carleton County, viz. Lanark and the new County of Renfrew, retaining the name of the Bathurst District.

Census and Census-Substitutes in Ireland

Census returns, being an official headcount of every living individual at a particular time, are generally a useful source for the family historian. However, in Ireland, many returns were pulped during the First World War or destroyed in a fire at the Public Records Office for Ireland in 1922 during the Irish Civil War. As a result so-called census substitutes, consisting of taxation or land returns or local censuses carried out by landlords and the clergy, form an important genealogical resource. The following is a list, in chronological order, of the censuses and census substitutes covering Northern Ireland or parts of Northern Ireland followed by links to lists arranged by county. Most of the records can be found in the (PRONI). Some can also be found in the National Archives of Ireland(NAI), the Genealogical Office (GO), The National Library of Ireland (Nat Lib), and the Representative Church Body Library (RCB Lib).


1630-1643 – The undertakers who were granted land in the Plantation of Ulster were required to muster their Protestant tenants from time to time for inspection by the government-appointed Muster Master General. Muster Rolls list the undertakers (large landlords) and the names of men which each could deliver in time of need, together with a list of available arms. No ages are shown but they probably represent lists of able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 50. The PRONI has a collection under references MIC/339, MIC/15A/52-3 and 73; also see the county list below.

1655-1667 – Sir William Petty’s Civil Survey of Ireland lists the large landlords of each townland as well as their predecessors prior to Cromwell’s confiscations of 1641. It is arranged by county, barony, parish and townland but unfortunately only part of it still survives and a transcript is available from the PRONI (T/371).

1659 – The Census of Ireland circa 1659 was also compiled by Sir William Petty. It is not a true census, giving only the names of the tituladoes (those with title to land) and the total number of persons (English/Scots and Irish) resident in each townland. Unfortunately Co. Tyrone was omitted. It was published by the Dublin Stationary Office in 1939.

1660 – The Poll Tax Returns list the people who paid a tax levied on every person over 12 years of age. They give detailed facts about individuals such as age and occupation.

1662-1666 – The Subsidy Rolls list the nobility, clergy and laity who paid a grant in aid to the King, that is, those who possessed sufficient property to be liable to the payment of subsidies which at that time formed the chief manner of direct taxation. They include the name and the parish of the person and sometimes the amount paid and the status of the person.

1664-1669 – Some of the Hearth Money Rolls from these years survive. They are arranged by county and parish, and list the name of the householder and the number of hearths on which he was taxed.

c.1680 – The Books of Survey and Distribution were compiled as a result of the wars of the mid-seventeenth century, when the English government needed reliable information on land ownership throughout Ireland in order to carry out its policy of land distribution. They are laid out by barony and parish and, although the originals were destroyed in a fire in 1711 in the Surveyors and Auditor General Office, a duplicate set can be found in the PRONI (D/1854/1/1-23).

1740 – A list was compiled of Protestant householders in parts of Co. Antrim, Co. Armagh, Co. Down, Co. Londonderry and Co. Tyrone. It is arranged by county, barony and parish but unfortunately in most cases not by townland. It contains names but no other details. A typescript copy is available in the PRONI (T/808/15258). A portion which is typed and indexed is available at the GO (Ref 539) and an unindexed portion is available at the RCB Lib.

1766 – In March and April 1766 the Government instructed the Church of Ireland rectors to prepare a return of householders in their respective parishes, showing their religion – Episcopalian (Church of Ireland), Dissenter (Presbyterian) or Papist (Roman Catholic), along with details of Catholic clergy or friars who were active in the area. The returns are varied in their level of detail. All the original returns were destroyed in the Four Courts fire of 1922, but extensive transcripts survive and are available in the PRONI.

1796 – As part of a government initiative to encourage the linen trade, free spinning wheels or looms were granted to individuals planting a certain area of land with flax. The lists of those entitled to the awards, covering almost 60,000 individuals were published in 1796 and a typescript copy of the list with a surname index of the spinning wheel entitlement is available at the PRONI (T/3419 and MF/7).

1821 – Most of the 1821 Government instigated census was destroyed in the 1922 burning of the Four Courts in Dublin. Some records remain for Co. Armagh and Co. Fermanagh and they are located in the PRONI (T/450 and MIC/5A and MIC/15A). The returns are arranged by county, barony, parish and townland and list the names, ages occupations and relationship to the householder of all the occupants, plus the acreage held by the householder and how many storeys high the dwelling house was. No information on religious persuasion was recorded.

1824-1838 – Tithe applotment books, arranged by parish and townland, list the occupiers of titheable land, but are not a list of householders. Dates vary by parish. They are available from the (Householders’ Index FIN/5A).

1831 – A similar government census to that of 1821 was undertaken in 1831 (omitting the number of storeys in the houses but including the religion of the occupants). It was also lost in the 1922 fire but returns for many of the parishes in Co. Londonderry have survived and are located in the PRONI (MIC/5A/6-9).

1841 – A government census was undertaken on 6th June 1841 following the same general lines as 1831 but the returns were compiled by the householders themselves. Additional information requested included date of marriage, ability or otherwise to read and write, details of absent members of the household and those who had died since 1831, their ages and relationships to the householder and the year and cause of their decease. Nothing relating to Northern Ireland remains.

1848-1864 – Sir Richard Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Ireland was published during these years with the date of publication varying for individual counties. It is arranged by county, barony, poor law union, civil parish and townland and lists every householder and every occupier of land. It gives name, townland address, acreage held, estimated value of the holding and from whom the land was leased. It is available in the PRONI, Belfast Central Library and the Linenhall Library.

1851 – Taken on 30th March, this government census followed the format of 1841 but added a column for religious affiliation. Returns for many of the parishes in Co. Antrim remain and are available in the PRONI (MIC/5A/11-26).

1841 and 1851 – With the introduction of the old age pension in the early twentieth century government officials used the 1841 and 1851 census returns to prove the age of the claimant. Abstracts from these searches have survived and include the name of the claimant, his or her parents’ names, the townland, parish, barony and county, age at the time of claim and age at the time of the relevant census return. The forms giving the results of the searches have survived and are available in the PRONI (T/550 and MIC/15A).

1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 – These census returns were destroyed by government order.

1876 – The Landowners in Ireland:   Return of owners of land of one acre and upwards is a record of more than 32,000 owners of land in Ireland in 1876, identifying them by province and county. A copy is available at the PRONI.

1901 – This census, taken on 31st March, is now the earliest return available for all of Northern Ireland. It is arranged by county, district electoral division and townland and lists name, age, religion, occupation, ability or otherwise to read and write, marital status, relationship to householder, county of birth or country if born outside Ireland and ability or otherwise to speak Irish. Absentees are not listed and some of the ages recorded are suspect. Details of their houses are also given – the number of rooms occupied by each family, type of roof and number of windows in the front. It is available at the PRONI (MIC/354).

1911 – This census, taken on 1st April, followed the format of the 1901 census with one important addition. Married women were required to state the duration of their present marriage, the number of children born and how many of these were still alive. This is the latest census available for public consultation but is only available in the NAI.