Ontario First Nations

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Ontario Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
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History[edit | edit source]

  • Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the region was inhabited by Algonquian (Ojibwe, Cree and Algonquin) in the northern/western portions, and Iroquois and Wyandot (Huron) people more in the south/east. During the 17th century, the Algonquians and Hurons fought the Beaver Wars against the Iroquois.
  • From 1634 to 1640, Hurons were devastated by European infectious diseases, such as measles and smallpox, to which they had no immunity. By 1700, the Iroquois had seceded from Ontario and the Mississaugas of the Ojibwa had settled the north shore of Lake Ontario. The remaining Huron settled north of Quebec.
  • The first European settlements were in 1782–1784 when 5,000 American loyalists entered what is now Ontario following the American Revolution. The Kingdom of Great Britain granted them 200 acres land and other items with which to rebuild their lives. The British also set up reserves in Ontario for the Mohawks who had fought for the British and had lost their land in New York state.
  • Other Iroquois, also displaced from New York were resettled in 1784 at the Six Nations reserve at the west end of Lake Ontario. The Mississaugas, displaced by European settlements, would later move to Six Nations also.
  • American troops in the War of 1812 invaded Upper Canada across the Niagara River and the Detroit River, but were defeated and pushed back by the British, Canadian fencibles and militias, and First Nations warriors.[1]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Tribes and Bands of Ontario Contact Information[edit | edit source]

A list of tribes and contact information is found at Native Tribes of Canada

More than half of the 410,000 Canadians claiming descent from native races at the 1981 census were "status Indians" affiliated with bands living on reservations or otherwise registered with the federal government.

Strategies[edit | edit source]

If you have First Nations ancestry certain additional records can help better identify those ancestors. Before you can effectively search First Nations records:

  1. Identify a First Nations ancestor and learn where he lived. Use records described on the Canada Wiki page, particularly census and church records.
  2. Identify the tribe or band. When you know the general area where an ancestor lived, you can usually identify his or her tribe. Use various handbooks that describe the tribes that lived in an area, such as: Handbook of Indians of Canada (Ottawa: Geographic Board of Canada, 1912). WorldCat Family History Library.
  3. Study the history of the tribe. You will need some background information about the tribe, such as (a) migration patterns, (b) marriage and naming customs, and (c) affiliations with government agencies or churches. If the tribe moved several times, records may be in many locations.

Published Records[edit | edit source]

Contains church history with some church records including baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Often these are written right with the church history. These are for localities in Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario. Includes historical infomation for several American Indian tribes, including the Mohican (Mohegan), Chippewa (Ojibway), Wyandot (Huron), Twightwee (Miami), Onondaga, Potawatomie, Mohawk and Delaware tribes.

Records[edit | edit source]

Records can be searched at the Archives of Ontario, requested in interlibrary loan for use in your local library, or you can hire a researcher from the provided list of individuals who are certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists or who are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Archives, Libraries, and Museums[edit | edit source]

Glenbow Archive, Library, and Museum

Glenbow Archives
130 - 9 Avenue
SE Calgary, Alberta T2G 0P3
Reference Desk telephone: 403-268-4204
Email: archives@glenbow.org

The Glenbow Archives and Library, has an excellent collection of resources for the study of Métis genealogy. Their sources cover predominantly Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and some parts of the Northwest Territories, Ontario, and British Columbia.
Most of our sources pertain to people who were living in the Prairie Provinces in 1900 or earlier.

One unique collection is the Gail Morin database. The collection consists of a database of 65,434 records of persons who were Metis ancestors. For each individual, dates and places of birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial, and notes on sources are given if known. Using Ancestral Quest software, the data can be linked to show genealogical relationships in the form of pedigree charts and descendancy charts. The database is available only with the assistance of the Archives staff in the reading room of the Glenbow Archives. The database is fully searchable online.


  1. "Ontario", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario#History, accessed 26 October 2020.