Genealogy and Local History

Local History and Genealogy Resources at your Fingertips!

Belle Ewart Ice Company

Where does your family story begin? With your grandmother’s shortbread recipe? With your great-grandpa’s tall-tale of the one that got away? These are the stories that matter, the ones that you’ll be talking about for years. And now you can share them with everyone. Help us preserve Innisfil’s community memory by sharing your favourite stories or photos with Our Stories Innisfil.

New! First Nations of Simcoe County: A History

Have you been looking for more information about First Nations’ history specifically in the Innisfil area? The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library is proud to present a new website, First Nations of Simcoe County: A History, to provide an introduction to the expanse of indigenous history in this area of our province. Please visit to find out more!

Getting Started

The easiest way to start researching your family history is by writing down what you already know. Start with yourself and work your way backwards through your family tree.

Go through family records (letters, diaries, birth, marriage and death certificates, photo albums), and look for clues about your ancestors. Family histories can become very complicated, so be sure to follow these guidelines while doing your research:

  1. Keep track of the information you find and where you find it, as well as the resources where you did not find anything. This will prevent you from consulting the same source twice.
  2. Ask other family members what they know about your ancestors and if they have any records or photos which might provide more information.
  3. Be sure to write down more than just names and numbers. Keep track of where your ancestors came from, how they got to Canada and where they lived.
Our Stories Innisfil
Our Stories Logo

Our Stories Innisfil is the place to go for historic photos of Innisfil from the collection of the Innisfil Historical Society. Look up your ancestors, schools or your home town to see what’s available.

Local History Collection

Located at the Lakeshore Branch of the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, this should be your first stop if you are researching your roots in Innisfil. We have books, cemetery records, newspapers and birth, death and marriage indexes available on microfilm. Did we mention there’s even a new microfilm reader? In addition, the Local History Collection houses the historical scrapbooks created by the Stroud Women’s Institute.  Look for the call number LH REF 971.317 Str

Visit us at 967 Innisfil Beach Road in Alcona or give us a shout at 705-431-7410


Access to Ancestry is available in-library only. Search family histories using Ancestry Library Edition. And it’s not just a ploy to get you to come visit us more often you can search records from North America, Europe and across the world, as well access great genealogy resources and tools. You can access the site by visiting from any of our three branches. For access to the Archives of Ontario through Ancestry, click here (in-library use only for both resources). To learn more about using Ancestry visit the How-To Website


The Library’s collection of genealogy books changes frequently as new titles are added. The exciting part is that you can use our Library catalogue to search for books on a variety of genealogy subjects.  Click on the links below to see what’s available today: Genealogy  |  The Local History Collection  |  Census

Cemetery Records

Cemetery records are held locally by the organization responsible for the burial site. This includes churches, crematorium, and in the case of municipal cemeteries, town offices. Contact the local public library for the area you are interested in for more information on the records available for a particular region.

The Ontario Genealogical Society has made over 95% of Ontario’s cemetery records available online; search by name, town, cemetery and other fields.

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library holds the following cemetery records in the Local History Collection at the Stroud Branch.


Bethesda Cemetery: part of the north half of lot 5, concession 3, Innisfil Township, Simcoe County, Ontario
Ontario Genealogy Societ
Ontario Genealogy Society, Simcoe County Branch
Cemetery Inscriptions: Tecumseth and West Gwillimbury Townships, Simcoe County, Ontario (with historic notes)Tecumseth and West Gwillimbury Historical Society, Simcoe County Branch
Clement’s Cemetery, also known as Cherry Creek Cemetery or Second Line Cemetery: part of the north half of lot 16, concession 1, Innisfil Township, Simcoe County, OntarioWallace, Ross.
Ontario Genealogical Society, Simcoe County Branch
Roman Catholic Cemetery at the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, Ewart Street, Bell Ewart, Ontario: part of the north half of lot 24, concession 4, Innisfil Township, Simcoe County, OntarioWallace, Ross.
Ontario Genealogical Society, Simcoe County Branch
St. Peter’s Anglican Church Cemetery, Churchill, part of the north half of lot 15, concession 3, InnisfilOntario Genealogical Society,
Simcoe County Branch
Surnames in St. James Cemetery (United), Stroud, On.: lot 15, concession 9, Innisfil Township, Simcoe CountyOntario Genealogical Society,
Simcoe County Branch
Three Private Cemeteries: Gibbins cemetery, lot 11, conc. 11; Abandones cemetery, lot 10, conc. 11; Soules cemetery, lot 26, conc. 13Ontario Genealogical Society,
Simcoe County Branch
Tombstone Inscriptions in St. John’s Anglican Church cemetery, Cookstown: lot 1, concession 1, Innisfil Township, Simcoe CountyOntario Genealogical Society,
Simcoe County Branch
Tombstone Inscriptions of Sixth Line Cemetery: lot 15, concession 5, Innisfil Township, Simcoe CountyOntario Genealogical Society,
Simcoe County Branc
Union Cemetery (also known as Baptist cemetery), Goldie Street, Bell Ewart, Ontario: part of the north half of lot 24, concession 4, Innisfil Township, Simcoe County, OntarioWallace, Ross.
Ontario Genealogical Society, Simcoe County Branch
Census Records

Innisfil Public Library holds a number of census reels for our region in the Local History Collection at the Stroud Branch. But even more census records are available elsewhere online!

Available on reel in library:

1842 – Home District

1851 – York

1861 – Renfrew, Simcoe, York

1871 – Simcoe, York

1881 – Simcoe, York

1891 – Simcoe, York

1901 – Simcoe

Library and Archives Canada Census Index Includes 1825, 1831, 1842, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916

The Catalogue of Census Returns 1666-1901 database allows you to identify the microfilm reel numbers for specific places and counties. Use the Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906 and the Census of Canada, 1911 databases to identify microfilm reel numbers for those years.

Also available on microfiche in library is the 1851 census for the city of Manchester, United Kingdom, including the following regions: Salford-Regent Road, Manchester, Chorlton Upon Medlock, Oldham-Below-Town, Salford-Greengate (including Trinity Ward), Hulme, and Ashton-Under-Lyne.


Newspapers are great for finding birth announcements, obituaries, and human interest stories.  Older editions of some local newspapers are available on microform in the Local History Collection at the Stroud Branch.

The Bradford Witness: 1960, 1962 to 1985

The Cookstown Advocate: 1902, 1919, 1936, 1940 to 1953

The Innisfil Scope: 1973 to 1977, May to December 1979, January to July 1980, March 4, 1981, March 1986 to April 2014 on microfilm. We also have January to October 1985, and August 1987 to December 1998 on microfiche.

The Innisfil Journal: 2010 to 2012, May 2013 to December 2014

The Innisfil Examiner: January 2007 to December 2014

The Barrie Examiner – Innisfil Edition: December 2005 to December 2006

Globe and Mail 1844-2010: You can also access full text of the Globe and Mail from 1844-2010 from home at any time using your Innisfil Public Library card. Amazing!

Toronto Star Historical (1894-2015): Full text to the newspaper now available anywhere with your Library card.

Vital Statistics

Innisfil Public Library has vital statistics for Ontario, available on microfilm at the Local History Collection at the Stroud Branch. The records may include: name, date of event, place of event, name of involved officials and/or relatives.

Birth Indexes, 1869-1914

Marriage Indexes, 1873-1929

Death Indexes, 1869-1939

Birth, Marriage & Death Index, 1869

Marriage Index, 1870-1873

Genealogy for Black Ancestors

Conducting genealogical research on Black and African-Canadian/American ancestors has historically been a challenge in both Canada and the United States due to scant record-keeping. Those trying to track down their ancestors often hit a “brick wall” due to the legacy of slavery: enslaved people rarely, if ever, had their full or even partial names included in the more traditional sources of genealogical information such as census reports, and Black people were rarely able or allowed to create their own records. Moreover, the post-emancipation prevalence of institutional racism and prejudiced policies create additional barriers to finding information because these records were often not well-maintained or may never have been created in the first place.

Despite some improvements in more recent history, the inadequacy of earlier record-keeping continues to be an issue. As a result, the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library has created this guide in order to provide resources that may assist beginners and experienced researchers alike to find their Black and African-American ancestors in Ontario, in Canada, and in the United States. It is by no means a complete list and will be continuously updated as new resources appear. If you know of a resource, either online or in print, that you would like to see included here or added to the Library’s collection, please contact with your suggestions or inquiries.

Booklist of Resources at the Library

Online Resources



North American and International

Digging Deeper

Canadian Genealogy Centre:

No genealogical research project could be considered complete without a visit to the Canadian Genealogy Centre website.  The Canadian Genealogy Centre is run by National Archives of Canada and holds millions of items related to the history of our country and people. They provide many services for the genealogist and are the primary source for a number of different types of records.


If our local papers or the Historic Globe and Mail are not of help, try web sites like Obituary Daily Times

Immigration Records:

Library and Archives Canada produces microfilm copies of immigration which you can request through Interlibrary Loan.  Visit the following sites and note the reel numbers you would like to request:

Border Entries: 1908-1918  |  1919-1924  |  1925-1935

Passenger Lists  |  Ocean Arrivals

Web Links: