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Ontario GenWeb Project: 1840-1849
Research By Year
  • Overview
  • Timeline
  • Governing Entity

  • Places
  • What's Available
  • Related Material

  • Presented here is the information we currently have to offer on this decade. A writer is needed to finish this page!!


    Ontario did not get its present name until 1867. During this time period it was known as Canada West.

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  • Timeline

    1840Population of Upper Canada: 432,159
    1841(10 Feb 1841) The Act of Union, Upper and Lower Canada are united as the Province of Canada. Lower Canada is renamed Canada East (Québec) and Upper Canada is renamed Canada West (Ontario)
    1841Population of Canada West: 455,688
    1842Population of Canada West: 487,053
    1847County Registry Offices begin keeping Town and Township copybooks of Land Transactions
    1847The largest Typhus epidemic, brought on by the thousands upon thousands of new immigrants "In one year alone, 1847, 'the black year of emigration,' more than 5,000 Irishmen, many sick from typhus and cholera, landed in Cobourg and other lake ports"
    1847-1848 Influenza Epidemic
    1848Population of Canada West: 725,879
    1849The colonial governments (Province of Canada, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & Vancouver Island) were permitted to establish their own postal systems

    Do you know of any other significant events that occurred during this decade?

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    Governing Entity


  • Victoria [1837-1901] Queen of England
    Canada's Head of State; Ruling Monarch of Britain

    Governor General of Canada:

  • Charles Edward Poulett Thomson, Baron Sydenham [1839-1842]
  • Sir Charles Bagot [1842-1843]
  • Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe [1843-1845]
  • Charles Murray Cathcart, Earl of Cathcart [1846-1847]
  • James Bruce, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine [1847-1854]
    Personal representative of the Sovereign and acting out the duties of Canada's Head of State on their behalf. Also is Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces. Governor General's are chosen by the Prime Minister and appointed by the sovereign. This role is mostly ceremonial, and lasts 5-7 years.

    Lieutenant Governor of Canada West:

  • Charles Poullet Thompson (Lord Sydenham) [1839-1840]
  • John Clitherow [1841]
  • Sir Richards Downes Jackson [1841-1842]
  • Sir Charles Bagot [1842-1843]
  • Sir Charles Theophilius Metcalfe [1843-1845]
  • Charles Murray Cathcart, Earl of Cathcart [1845-1847]
  • Sir James Bruce (Earl of Elgin and Kincardine) [1847-1854]
    The lieutenant governor (pronounced lef'ten-ent gov'er-ner) is a representative of the monarch, and appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada for a term of five years. Each province in Canada has their own provincial lieutenant governor.

    What Places Existed

  • Bathurst District [Est. 1824]
  • Brock District [Est. 1837]
  • Canada West [Est. 1841]
  • Carleton County [Est. 1800]
  • Colbourne District [Est. 1841]
  • Dalhousie District [Est. 1842]
  • Dundas County [Est. 1792]
  • Durham County [Est. 1792]
  • Eastern District [Est. 1788]
  • Essex County [Est. 1792]
  • Frontenac County [Est. 1792]
  • Glengarry County [Est. 1792]
  • Gore District [Est. 1816]
  • Grenville County [Est. 1792]
  • Haldimand County [Est. 1800]
  • Halton County [Est. 1816]
  • Hastings County [Est. 1792]
  • Home District [Est. 1788]
  • Huron County [Est. 1835]
  • Huron District [Est. 1838]
  • Johnstown District [Est. 1798]
  • Kent County [Est. 1792]
  • Lambton County [Est. 1837]
  • Lanark County [Est. 1824]
  • Leeds County [Est. 1792]
  • Lennox & Addington County [Est. 1800]
  • Lincoln County [Est. 1792]
  • London District [Est. 1800]
  • Middlesex County [Est. 1800]
  • Midland District [Est. 1788]
  • Newcastle District [Est. 1802]
  • Niagara District [Est. 1800]
  • Norfolk County [Est. 1792]
  • Northumberland County [Est. 1792]
  • Ottawa District [Est. 1816]
  • Oxford County [Est. 1800]
  • Peterborough County [Est. 1838]
  • Prescott County [Est. 1800]
  • Prince Edward County [Est. 1792]
  • Prince Edward District [Est. 1831]
  • Renfrew County [Est. 1845]
  • Rupert's Land [Est. 1670]
  • Russell County [Est. 1800]
  • Simcoe County [Est. 1821]
  • Simcoe District [Est. 1837]
  • Stormont County [Est. 1792]
  • Talbot District [Est. 1837]
  • Upper Canada [Est. 1791]
  • Victoria County [Est. 1821]
  • Victoria District [Est. 1837]
  • Waterloo County [Est. 1840]
  • Welland County [Est. 1845]
  • Wellington District [Est. 1837]
  • Wentworth County [Est. 1816]
  • Western District [Est. 1788]
  • York County [Est. 1788]

    What's Available

    Below are the resources that are generally available for most time periods. Under each title is a blurb telling you if the resource is available for this time period. For more general information on each resource, how to use it, where to find it, click on the title.

    Birth Records
    Birth registration was not required. In order to find a record of birth during this time period you will have to utilize other resources such as Church Records, Cemetery Records, Court Records, and even Miscellany Records.

    Books are an often overlooked resource especially now that the internet appears to have all the information you need at your fingertips. Local histories, period histories, and even transcripts are available, not just locally, but worldwide. Is your ancestor hiding in a book?

    Cemetery Records
    Finding a cemetery record for this time period could be hit or miss. Most people were either buried on family land, or in their church cemetery (what was their religion?).

    Census Records
    For more settled areas during this time a census was taken every year but few, if any, of these records have survived. Census Records that are known to have survived are listed on OntarioGenWeb's Census Project.

    Church Records
    During the early years of Canada West there were religious restrictions. When England claimed Canada as their colony they hoped to create an Anglican nation. However as more and more immigrants arrived it was clear they wanted Freedom of Religion, and bit by bit they won that right. But for genealogists seeking their ancestors this can be a tricky search if your ancestor was not part of a religion that was legally permitted to practice certain rites in Ontario. During this time period the only churchs permitted to perform certain church rites were: Anglican, Baptist, Calvinist, Catholic, Church of Scotland, Congregationalist, Dunkers, Independent, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Moravian and Presbyterian churchs.

    Citizenship/Naturalization Records
    If your ancestor was a British subject (born in Canada, England, or one of England's colonies) you will not find a Citizenship or Naturalization Record because they were already considered a citizen. If your ancestor was born elsewhere they were eligible to apply for Citizenship or Naturalization after living in Canada for three years and declaring loyalty to the British Crown.

    Court Records

  • Coroner Records
  • Correctional Records
  • Guardianship Records
  • Surrogate Court
  • Wills & Estate Files

    Death Records
    Death registration was not required. In order to find a record of death during this time period you will have to utilize other resources such as Church Records, Cemetery Records, Court Records, and even Miscellany Records.

    Funeral Records
    As Funeral Homes were rarely used prior to the late 1800's it's quite likely you will not find a Funeral Record for this time period.

    Emigration Records
    Not available for this time period

    Immigration Records

  • Quarantine Records
  • Ship Lists: If your ancestor was a British subject, or arrived by ship prior to 1865 it's possible but unlikely you'll find them on a ship passenger list.

    Land Records

  • Land Patents
  • Township Papers

    Marriage Records
    Starting in 1793 there are District Marriage Registers. If your ancestor is not in the District Marriage Registers, you will have to use other resources.

    Military Records
    Some records are available

    Misc Records

  • Newspapers
  • Biographies
  • Fraternal Organizations
  • Employment Records
  • Education Records
  • Alumni Records

    Do you know of another resource that could be used to research this time period?
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    What is the resource?

    How can this resource be used to research this time period?

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