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Early history of Upper Canada, the former Kent County and Chatham                                                                                                    Family Tree Ontario Canada

There are rich lines of family history in Chatham and the former Kent County.

Council of 3 Fires - Ojibwa, Odawa & Pottawatomi on the unceded territory of Walpole Island on Lake St Clair;

the Munsee (Wolf) tribe of the Delaware who came to Canada in 1792 to settle Fairfield, later site of The Battle of the Thames.

early settlers who formed the militia and joined British Regulars and Natives in defending Canada against  invasion in 1813;

African-Americans escaped from slavery over the Underground Railroad 1830-1860;

Scots and English entrepreneurs from the British Isles and Eastern Canada 1840-1900;

Continental European skilled trades and farmers 1900-1970.

Resources available to visitors seeking a family connection in Chatham-Kent

Guests of  The Duchess of Wellington Bed and Breakfast are provided with a Family History Package including maps and quides. Transportation to residence locations and cemeteries is available.

The Duchess of Wellington is 2 blocks from the Chatham-Kent Library 120 Queen Street in Chatham. Newspaper index 1841-1990, directories starting 1864, census 1846-1901, ship passenger lists for the US & Canada and church and cemetery records are on microfilm or transcribed. The library opens at 9:30AM Monday through Saturday and closes 8:30PM Monday thru Thursday, 5:30 PM Friday and Saturday. Computers and Internet Access are available - ask The Duchess' concierge for an access code.

Some of the above material as well as publications including family and community histories form part of The Kent Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society which is staffed 1:00PM-5:00PM Monday thru Saturday on the second floor of the Chatham-Kent Library.

The Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society 177 King Street East in Chatham boasts a range of primary and secondary resources including genealogical and census records, original photographs, military records, newspaper articles and land registries.

The library and research centre at The Buxton National Historic Site and Museum in North Buxton contains papers of historic significance not only locally but continent-wide. Open 1:00PM-4:40PM, but days of week depend on season (always open Wednesday and Friday). The site is located 15 minutes west of The Duchess - ask for a map and a copy of "Buxton National Driving Tour." Mark September 3 2010 for the annual Labour Day Weekend History and Genealogy Conference.

The Mormons are well known for their research in family history. The Church of Latter Day Saints' Family History Centre is at 19 Detroit Drive, south on Queen from The Duchess turn right just past Indian Creek. They have a study room with birth, christening and marriage records world-wide. The room is open varying hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - ask for current times.

When researching the past history of our house, we found the Land Registry Office on William Street North to be really useful. Hours are 9:00AM-5:00PM Monday thru Friday; they ask that we avoid the 1st and 15th of each month due to work loads.

Also suggested: Surrogate Court Office 21 7th Street North, third floor, for uncontested wills.

If your family was involved in the health field circa 1910 or the War of 1812, visit the Chatham-Kent Museum 57 William Street North (at the Cultural Centre across from Tecumseh Park). These are fields particularly well represented. Were ancestors involved in industries like glass-making? Wallaceburg Museum 505 King Street, Wallaceburg has an outstanding collection.