Archives: Guide to Genealogical Resources

Genealogical resources are interspersed throughout the holdings at Trent University Archives. There are a variety of resources including family papers and correspondence, birth, marriage and death records, census and assessment records, court records of legal cases, deeds, wills, store ledgers and accounts, business records and records of organizations and groups.

The Archives is open to the Trent community and the public.

Table of contents

Census and Assessment Records

Decennial census records (taken every 10 years beginning in 1851) are available on the main floor of the library in the microformat area. The decennial census lists all the members of a family, their ages, religion, country of origin, lot and concession and often some agricultural information. We have the decennial census records for 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901. There is no charge to use the machines apart from copying charges and there are finding aids and reel guides in the microformat area and on-line. In our reading room, see also the printed transcript indexes of the 1871 census (for Hastings, Prince Edward, Peterborough, Victoria, Hastings, Durham and Northumberland Counties) and the 1891 census (for Percy, Glamorgan, Cavan, Manvers, Monaghan North and South, Lakefield Village, Manvers, Port Hope Town, Murray and Smith townships). See the "On-line Resources" link above for access to digitized census records.

A summary of our microfilmed holdings follows:

Earlier census were taken for specific townships. The information available on these varies. We have very early census and assessments, pollbooks and voters' lists on microfilm for the Newcastle District. The area covered includes townships in the present-day counties of Peterborough, Northumberland, Durham and Victoria. The townships of Hamilton and Haldimand were not filmed.

Assessment records are less useful since they only list the property owner, but they complement the census records and should also be consulted. Our earliest assessments are for the Newcastle District and cover townships in Durham and Northumberland, 1802-1843. All the names in these records have been transcribed. Aggregate records may be of some use. We have microfilmed copies for Upper Canada, 1824-1850. Additional records for the township of North Monaghan were filmed by the Ontario Archives in 1959.

We also have large collections of nineteenth-century assessments for Victoria County (paper copy), the United Counties of Durham and Northumberland (paper copy and microfilm), Asphodel Township (paper copy), and twentieth century assessments (1936 & 1940 only) for Lakefield (paper copy). The land Record books for the County of Durham, 1843-1968, 28 volumes, contain abstract indexes to deeds and complete land registry information.

Voters' Lists

Court Records

We have extensive court records collections for Victoria County and the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham ( Peterborough court records are at the Peterborough Centennial Museum and Archives). The court records consist of indictments, convictions, inquests, voters' lists, township and other municipal business records, surrogate and other estate-related information. The important inquest series from the Northumberland and Durham court records has been fully indexed by name, age, address and cause of death. Also indexed is the register (calendar) of the common jail for the United Counties located in Cobourg. Please see the full Finding Aid for this important collection to locate other indexed series.

Church Records

Christ Church Bobcaygeon, baptisms, marriages, burials

St. Johns' Church, Peterborough parish registers

Vital Statistics

Births, marriages and deaths for the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham have been transcribed in full. There are two sets of records: loose returns, 1838-1855, made by the minister of the parish, and three bound volumes, 1831-1873.

In our Reading Room, you can find Kawartha Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society publications such as the Indexes to Cemeteries in Peterborough County: Little Lake, Pengelley, Upper Keene, Riverside (Lindsay), Warkworth, Highland Park and St. Peter's.

Also, in our Reading Room, you can find other publications of the Kawartha Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society such as indexes of births, marriages and deaths from several Peterborough and local newspapers: Christian Messenger 1870-1872; Peterborough Examiner 1858-1875; Peterborough Dispatch, Backwoodsman & Sentinel, Chronicle and Peterborough Gazette, 1837-1856 (includes a special supplement and listing of the Peter Robinson settlers, 1825, where they settled and where they came from in Ireland); Cobourg Star 1831-1849 (plus supplement); Canadian Post and Victoria Warder, 1861-1882; Peterborough Review, 1854-1868.

We also have funeral registers from the Mather Funeral Home, Keene, Ontario. They list name and address of deceased, age, and cause of death. Persons named generally lived in the immediate area, that is, Otonabee Township. Volumes 1-3, 1888-1949 are open and available to researchers. See 08-013.htm

Legal Records and Surveyors' Records

Trent Collection and Relevant Publications

The "Trent Collection" is shelved in the Rare Books room. It consists of all books written about the Peterborough area, or, written by a Peterborough resident. The books are available for reference use in our main Reading Room and all books have been included in the library on-line catalogue. We also shelve in the Archives Reading Room all the publications of the Kawartha Genealogical Society: cemetery listings, printed indexes to census, surrogate court indexes, indexes to marriage registers and newspaper compendia.

Newspapers, Maps, Directories

All extant newspapers from Peterborough and the surrounding area have been acquired on microfilm. We also have important holdings of local papers in hard-copy. Papers date from 1831 to the present.

Our map collection is extensive and includes wall maps with the names of residents on their lots. These maps are for Victoria County, 1877 and Durham County, 1861, and Asphodel Township as an inset in a map of Canada West, 1860. The Historical Atlases (we have these for Peterborough County and all surrounding counties) are also named maps. Note also in the map guide the Goad Insurance Plans of the City of Peterborough.

Ontario Directories: The Directories can be useful for locating family residences and businesses. We have County of Peterborough, 1870-1871; Town and County of Peterborough, 1883-1884; Northumberland and Durham, 1865-1866; Northumberland, 1870-1871; Durham, Northumberland, Peterborough and Victoria, 1887; Durham, Northumberland, Ontario, Peterborough and Victoria, 1890; Durham, Haliburton, Northumberland, Peterborough and Victoria, 1896; and Durham, Frontenac, Hastings, Lennox, Addington, Northumberland and Prince Edward, 1911-1912. We also have the annual Directories for the City of Peterborough for 1926, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1968 to current.

Online Resources

The Heritage Canada project is a ten year project designed to digitize significant Canadian archival collections.   Broadly it covers genealogy, government documents, aboriginal history, military history and important collections of private papers from archival collections all over the country.

Historical Atlases in Ontario:  The Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the McGill University Library has digitized a number of late nineteenth century historical county atlases of Ontario.  The project is called: In Search of your Canadian Past: the Canadian County Atlas Digital Project.  searchable by family name and location

Canadian Census

Genealogical organizations and supports

And, finally ........

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