As many as 60 separate religious affiliations have existed within Ontario, some for over two hundred years, and others for only a very short period of time. Many of these religions offered services within Simcoe County. Initially, these were carried out only periodically, by travelling clergy, perhaps in a pioneer’s house. Eventually, the various communities built churches or places of worship and services were carried out on a regular basis.
Each religious denomination kept records to varying degrees. These often included statistics about their members such as births/baptisms, marriages and deaths/burials. These records might be kept by the individual clergyman and therefore moved around with him, or they might stay with a specific church. As time went on, some churches merged with, or were replaced by others. Some of the records were moved to central church archives, others to local archives or libraries, some to private collections. Some were stored away in the attic or cellar of the church and were eventually destroyed by water damage. A few were lost in fires.
The branch is involved with an ongoing project known as The Places of Worship Records Inventory. When completed, this will list the various places of worship within the county, identify what records are available and where they are held.
Central archives are maintained by many religious organizations. We have listed some of them for your convenience.
Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Toronto
The Diocese of Toronto, founded in 1839, includes parishes within Simcoe County.
Non current parish records, including baptism, marriage and burial records are held at the Diocesan Archives located next to St. James’ Cathedral near the intersection of Church and King Streets in downtown Toronto.
Hours – see their website for hours of operation
|The Anglican Diocese of Toronto|
135 Adelaide Street East,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1L8
Toll Free: 1-800-668-8932
The Canadian Baptist Archives
Several hundred Baptist congregations have deposited their original records in the Archives, at McMaster Divinity College located in Hamilton, Ontario.
|McMaster Divinity College|
1280 Main Street West,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1
|Telephone: 905-525-9140 X 23511|
Canadian Society of Friends (Quakers)
Records are maintained at the Canadian Yearly Meeting Archives in the Dorland Room of Pickering College located on Bayview Avenue in Newmarket. See the Canadian Friends Historical Association for further information.
Hours – appointment required
|Canadian Yearly Meeting Archives|
Attention: Jane Zavitz Bond, Archivist
16945 Bayview Avenue
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada L3Y 4X2
|Telephone: 905-895-1700 X 247,|
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto
Catholic churches in Simcoe County are located within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The Archives of the Archdiocese are situated within the Catholic Pastoral Centre located on Yonge Street in Toronto.
In the 1980’s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints microfilmed the Parish Registers for the period 1830-1910. These Registers have been digitized and are now available online through FamilySearch.org. These records are also available for viewing at the LDS History Centre. The Archives possesses burial records for St. Paul’s and St. Michael’s cemeteries, and transcriptions for some of the diocesan cemeteries. Archives staff will not carry out genealogical research but will offer consultation.
Please refer to the Archdiocese of Toronto website for details regarding access to the Parish Registers.
Hours – appointment required
|Archives of the Roman Catholic|
Archdiocese of Toronto
Catholic Pastoral Centre
1155 Yonge Street, Suite 505
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4T 1W2
|Telephone: (416) 934-0606 X 501|
Fax: (416) 934-3444
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Holdings of the Archives and Records Office date from 1775 and include vital statistics registers: births/baptisms, marriages, and deaths/burials for some congregations from Simcoe County. Death or burial registers were not an official record of the church but may exist as a personal record of the minister.
It should be noted, many Presbyterian congregations voted “yes” to Church Union in 1925, and became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925. Records for those churches, including pre 1925, would be located with the United Church of Canada.
Descriptions of the Congregational records are available on-line as part of a searchable database called ARCHEION which is administered by the Archives Association of Ontario.
The Archives and Records Office are situated within the National Office of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, located at 50 Wynford Drive, close to the intersection of Don Mills and Eglinton, just west of the Don Valley parkway in Toronto.
Hours – see their website for hours of operation – an appointment is recommended.
|The Presbyterian Church in Canada|
50 Wynford Dr.,
Toronto, Ontario Canada M3C 1J7
Toll Free: 1-800-619-7301
The United Church of Canada
The Archives house the National records of the United Church of Canada and its antecedent denominations (Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational and Evangelical United Brethren), as well as the records of the five central Ontario Conferences of the United Church (Bay of Quinte, Toronto, Hamilton, London and Manitou).
Holdings include the early Wesleyan Methodist baptismal registers (Branch Publication available) as well as local church records, baptism, marriage, and burial registers (mainly after 1896). In some instances, these records have remained with the individual church.
The Archives Holdings can be searched online as part of a searchable database called ARCHEION which is administered by the Archives Association of Ontario.
|The United Church Archives|
40 Oak Street
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5A 2C6
|Telephone: (416) 231-7680 ext. 1101|
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 1101