Books for Genealogy and History

First of all, there are two books which I would recommend for those starting out. They aren't limited to Perth County, but they are both very useful for anyone doing Ontario genealogy.

In Search of Your Canadian Roots by Angus Baxter is one which I recommend to anyone interested in Canadian genealogy. He starts out with general information and then gives detailed information on the resources available for each province. The latest edition is the 2nd in 1994. Be aware that even in the latest edition the addresses he gives may no longer be correct.

Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records by Brenda Dougall Merriman is the other one I recommend.
$ It can be purchased from OGS. The latest edition is the 3rd in 1996; the older editions are now a bit out of date, but still useful. I wish there was a book like this for every province!

Now that that's over, I can move on to...


For more books on particular townships and towns, see the township links on the main page. The books here are the ones about the county as a whole.

History of the County of Perth from 1825-1902, by William Johnston, is a good history of the beginning of the county. However, it's hard to find. Originally printed in 1903, it was reprinted in 1976 by the Beacon Herald Fine Printing Division, Stratford.

History of Perth County to 1967 by W Stafford Johnston and Hugh Johnston. Beacon Herald Press, Stratford, 1967. This book is more or less a continuation of Johnson's book, and focuses on the time from 1900 on.
$ You can buy a copy from the Stratford-Perth Archives.

An important source is the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Perth County, from 1879, one of the series of Beldon County Historical Atlases. This is particularly valuable if your ancestors were landowners (farmers), since it includes a map of every township showing the location of each farm, with the names of the owner. Also, there are historical sketches of many people. It was reprinted in 1982 by Cummings Publishers, Stratford. Many libraries have this series of atlases; they are being reprinted again but they are expensive to buy (about $90 CAN most places I've seen them).

There is another Illustrated Historical Atlas of Perth County, this one made in 1982. It follows the same pattern as the 1879 one, and it is a good source to compare the past with the present. I've used it to compare farm ownership; find the farm in the old atlas and then see who owned it in 1982! Is it still in the family?

A good series of books, though very hard to find these days, is Vera McNichol's Reveries of a Pioneer. Each book concentrates on a particular township or two townships. These are invaluable books for the family historian, because they contain so many reminiscences. I believe the author lived in the county all her life, and she knew many of the locals. She writes little snippets (some in poetry) about the people, places and events of the past. When I looked at the Elma township book, I couldn't believe how many names were mentioned that I recognized. She seems to have known everyone!
But beware: there are mistakes in these books!! She seems to have compiled them by talking to people, and while there's nothing wrong with that, sometimes the person she was talking to got things mixed up, and Vera didn't check her facts. Beware especially the family stories given in these books.

This series consists of:
Reveries of a Pioneer(1968) (covers all Perth County, contains bits from the other books)
Reveries of a Pioneer: Elma (1967)
Reveries of a Pioneer: Ellice and Logan (1967)
Reveries of a Pioneer: Hibbert and Fullarton (1967)
Reveries of a Pioneer: Mornington(1966)
Reveries of a Pioneer: Wallace(1966)
Reveries of a Pioneer: Blanshard and Downie(1967)


About Perth County, Ontario

Welcome to Perth County GenWeb, your online guide to Perth County Genealogy since February 1998! I am Meg Fuller, Your Coordinator for this County site.

I hope you enjoy your visit. Please email me if you have any suggestions or contributions you would like to make.

I hope you find my efforts helpful in your research of your County roots. I am unable to do additional research on your family as I do not have direct access to records. I post everything I have for all to use.

Perth County is located in south-western Ontario in about the middle of the peninsula. There are many small towns and hamlets in this area, and the largest city is Stratford. Stratford currently has a population of about 30 000. This population swells in the summer tourist season! For the most part Perth County consists of rural agricultural land. The other major industry is tourism because of the Stratford Festival.

It is one of the few counties in South-Western Ontario that doesn't touch any of the Great Lakes. Because of its location, and distance from the Great Lakes, it was one of the last areas in Ontario to be settled. People who aren't familiar with Ontario often confuse it with Perth, a city in Lanark County. If it's Perth, Lanark County you're after, or if your reference just says Perth, here's a link to the Lanark County GenWeb. But it was nice of you to visit.

Surrounding Counties

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Oxford | Middlesex | Huron | Wellington | Waterloo