The Early Districts of Upper Canada


At the close of the American Revolution, the Province of Quebec included land to the west that would later become Upper Canada. Soon thereafter, in 1788, four districts were created in this new territory for administration purposes: Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nassau & Hesse. In 1791, Quebec was divided into the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, with the Ottawa River being the dividing line. The German names of the districts were abolished in 1792, and they were renamed: Eastern, Midland, Home & Western.

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All government business took place in the centres of these four districts, which created hardships for the early settlers in having to travel a great distance for such things as court sittings. In 1792, 17 counties were established within those four districts. Because of the distances involved, more and more districts were created throughout the ensuing years, with the result that by 1845, there were 20 districts, containing 32 counties. These counties, though, were not used for government administration until 1849. This resulted in many vital records, such as registers from the courts, government commissions, and land boards from before 1849, being kept under district names, rather than county names.

Because of the constant change in borders of both counties and districts, historians and genealogists must be informed of how the government administrations were set up throughout the years, in order to be sure of accessing important records. This table presents a comprehensive record of each county, its administrative changes and a listing of Linda’s relevant publications.

 

EARLY COUNTIES (pre-1850)

DISTRICT (All Districts abolished December 31, 1849)

WHAT TO CHECK OUT

Addington 1792-1849 (merged with Lennox County in 1800)

MIDLAND

Surrogate, Civil & Other; Vital Stats; Census; Colonization Roads; Indexes; Quarter Sessions; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 1st Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions; Other

Carleton 1800-1822

JOHNSTOWN

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Carleton 1822-1842

BATHURST

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board

Carleton 1842-1849

DALHOUSIE

 

Dundas 1792-1849

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Durham 1792-1802

HOME

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Durham 1802-1849

NEWCASTLE

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Essex 1792-1849

WESTERN

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Frontenac 1792-1849

MIDLAND

Surrogate, Civil & Other; Vital Stats; Census; Quarter Sessions; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 1st Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions; Other

Glengarry 1798-1849

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Grenville 1792-1800

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Grenville 1800-1849

JOHNSTOWN

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Haldimand 1800-1849

NIAGARA

Assize (Oyer & Terminer)

Halton 1816-1849

GORE

Assize (Oyer & Terminer)

Hastings 1792-1839

MIDLAND

Surrogate, Civil & Other; Vital Stats; Census; Quarter Sessions; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 1st & 2nd Land Boards; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Hastings 1839-1849

VICTORIA

 

Huron 1835-1841

LONDON

 

Huron 1841-1849

HURON

 

Kent 1792-1849

WESTERN

Vital Stats; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Lanark 1824-1849

BATHURST

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board

Leeds 1792-1800

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Leeds 1800-1849

JOHNSTOWN

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Lennox 1792-1849 (merged with Addington County in 1800)

MIDLAND

Surrogate, Civil & Other; Vital Stats; Census; Colonization Roads; Indexes; Quarter Sessions; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 1st Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions; Other

Lincoln 1792-1800

HOME

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Lincoln 1800-1849

NIAGARA

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Middlesex 1800-1849

LONDON

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Norfolk [part] 1792-1800

HOME

Assize (Oyer & Terminer)

Norfolk [part] 1792-1800

WESTERN

Assize (Oyer & Terminer)

Norfolk 1800-1837

LONDON

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Norfolk 1837-1849

TALBOT

 

Northumberland 1792-1802

HOME

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Northumberland 1802-1849

NEWCASTLE

Vital Stats; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Ontario (comprised of the Islands in the St. Lawrence River) 1792-1800 (abolished)

MIDLAND

Surrogate, Civil & Other; Quarter Sessions; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 1st Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Oxford 1800-1839

LONDON

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Oxford 1839-1849

BROCK

 

Perth 1849-1849

HURON

 

Peterborough 1838-1841

NEWCASTLE

 

Peterborough 1841-1849

COLBORNE

 

Prescott 1800-1816

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Prescott 1816-1849

OTTAWA

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board

Prince Edward 1792-1834

MIDLAND

Surrogate, Civil & Other; Quarter Sessions; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 1st Land Board; Heir & Devisee Commissions

Prince Edward 1834-1849

PRINCE EDWARD

Vital Stats; Quarter Sessions

Renfrew 1845-1849

BATHURST

Colonization Roads

Russell 1800-1816

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Russell 1816-1849

OTTAWA

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); 2nd Land Board

Simcoe 1821-1843

HOME

Assize (Oyer & Terminer)

Simcoe 1843-1849

SIMCOE

 

Stormont 1792-1849

EASTERN

Indexes; Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

Waterloo 1840-1849

WELLINGTON

 

Welland (created from Lincoln County) 1845-1849

NIAGARA

 

Wentworth 1816-1849

GORE

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

York 1792-1849

HOME

Assize (Oyer & Terminer); Heir & Devisee Commissions

 

 

LATER COUNTIES

SEE ABOVE

Brant

Wentworth, Halton

Bruce

Huron, Perth

Dufferin

Simcoe, Waterloo

Elgin

Middlesex

Grey

Simcoe

Lambton

Kent

Ontario

York

Peel

York

Victoria

Peterborough

Wellington

Waterloo

 

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