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Ontario Genealogy: Black Research
Black Genealogy Research in Ontario
Historical OverviewIn 1793, the parliament of the province of Upper Canada (now Ontario) passed An Act to prevent the further introduction of Slaves and to limit the term of contracts for Servitude within this Province.
This Act ensured that the children of slaves, at age 25, would automatically be set free. The Act remained in force until 1833 when the British Parliament's Emancipation Act abolished slavery in all parts of the Empire, including Ontario.
After the War of 1812, the black community in Ontario grew with the steady arrival of runaway slaves from the southern United States. Over the next few years many slaves found freedom by following the Underground Railroad to Ontario.
The American Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 forced an influx of freedom seekers to many parts of Canada West via the Underground Railroad. This Act gave slave owners the right to apprehend fugitives anywhere in the Republic and return them to slavery. This caused both free Blacks and fugitive slaves to flee north.
By 1851 there were more than 35,000 people of African descent in Ontario. Many of these people lived in the south-western part of the province, with thriving communities in Buxton, Dresden, Chatham and Windsor areas.
Benjamin Drew wrote about the blacks in Canada 1856 in his 1856 book "A NorthSide View of Slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada. Related by themselves, with an account of the history and condition of the colored population of Upper Canada 1"
"The colored population of Upper Canada, was estimated in the First Report of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, in 1852, at thirty thousand. Of this large number, nearly all the adults, and many of the children, have been fugitive slaves from the United States"
Those seeking their black ancestors may therefore need to turn to records in the U.S.A. once their search in Canada has been exhausted. It is my hope that this webpage will be of assistance.
February is Black History Month!
Read about the struggles and triumphs of life as an American slave. The Slave Narratives collection of interviews is the most complete picture available of the African American slavery experience. Read Narratives of American Slaves in Canada online on The Olive Tree Genealogy pages
Read Narratives of American Slaves in Canada online on The Olive Tree Genealogy pagesnarratives from fugitive slaves in Upper Canada
The Underground RailroadThe Underground Railroad movement was started in Columbia, Pennsylvania in 1804 by a Quaker abolitionist named Levi Coffin. He used railroad terminology to confuse the slave catchers. A person leading the fugitives to freedom would be known as CONDUCTOR. It was their responsibility to get the PASSENGERS(fugitives), fom one Station(safehouse) to another until they eventually reached a TERMINAL in northern U.S.A or Canada, where there was freedom. See Underground Railroad
Early Black SettlementsThe Buxton (Elgin) SettlementSettled in 1839
Elgin Settlement another site
Griffin House The home of Enerals Griffin a Black man, born in Virginia, who came to the Niagara area as a refugee slave in 1829. He and his wife Priscilla had a son James born to them in Ancaster in 1833
Negro Creek Negro Creek Road is in Holland Township, 25 kilometres south of Owen Sound and about 140 northwest of Toronto. The area around Negro Creek Road was first settled by black pioneers and their descendants who farmed there after the War of 1812
Oro Township Black settlement on Wilberforce Street in Oro Township, Simcoe County began in 1819
Wilberforce Settlement The Wilberforce Settlement (Lucan) was located in Biddulph Township, Middlesex County and settlement began there about 1830.
Pierpoint Settlement Founded by Richard Pierpoint, Black Loyalist from Butler's Rangers, it was in Garafraxa Township just outside present-day Fergus in Wellington County. The first settlers in this area were black soldiers who fought in the Butler's Rangers regiment and in the War of 1812.
Queen's Bush The Clergy Reserve known as the Queen's Bush, extended from Waterloo County to Lake Huron. The majority of black settlers settled in the southern half of Peel Township in Wellington County but the Queen's Bush Settlement also included the northern half of Wellesley Township and the western portion of Woolwich Township in Waterloo County. This area, eight by twelve miles in size, had a population of approximately 1,500 Black settlers by 1840. A major relocation of Black settlers began taking place in the late 1840s, mostly to Owen Sound, but also to towns and cities surrounding the Queen's Bush Settlement and to other Black settlements.
Dawn Settlement Established by Josiah Henson as a temporary settlement for black refugees near Dresden
Little Africa A small settlement on Hamilton Mountain near Ft. Erie, first settled circa 1840, deserted by 1880.
Black ChurchesAfrican Methodist Episcopal
British Methodist Episcopal
Cornwallis Baptist Church
First Baptist Church
Pilgrim Baptist Church
St. Philip's African Orthodox Church
Stewart Memorial Church
Black SchoolsIn 1850, the Common Schools Act of the colonial government provided for the creation of separate schools for Blacks. Black schools frequently suffered from a lack of financial support. Black students often found themselves barred from other schools.
Online DatabasesSurnames found in the British Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery
The Walls Family Cemetery
Black History in Guelph and Wellington County
Families in Guelph & Wellington County
Louis Hughes, Thirty Years a Slave, 1832-62
Pioneer Blacks in Adams County, Ohio
A list of references for the history of Black Americans in agriculture, 1619-1974
Blacks in the State of Oregon, 1788-1971
1850 Slave Schedules
1860 Slave Schedules
African American Photo Collection, 1850-2000
The First African Baptist Church of North America
Census RecordsView the 1871 index to Ontario Census online. To find black individuals, use the keyword feature on the search engine. For example it you type in BLACK you will find 619 'hits'. Use the keywords BLACK, AFRICAN, SLAVE, NEGRO
Articles & TipsResearching your Canadian Black ancestry very often means venturing into African American Black research in the USA. To assist researchers, I have provided links to articles and online genealogy records that may be of help in your search for African American or Canadian ancestors.
Historical PersonalitiesHarriet Tubman 1820-1893, Conductor of Underground Railroad
Harriet Tubman another site
Josiah Henson (1789-1877): helped to settle the Dawn Settlement near Dresden, Ontario
Josiah Henson another site
Richard Pierpoint (c.1745-c.1838) Black loyalist and member of Butler's Rangers
The 1821 Petition of Richard Pierpoint
Bernice Redmon (1917 - 1993) first Black woman appointed to the Victoria order of Nursing in Canada
Mary Ann Shadd (1823-1893): first woman to publish a newspaper in North America
Mary Ann Shadd another site
Osborne Perry Anderson Canadian Black soldier in the Civil War
Henry Bibb founded the newspaper, Voice of the Fugitive, in Sandwich, Ontario
MilitaryBlack Loyalist Migration Routes
The Coloured Corps 1812-1815 Thirty black men commanded by white officers initiated by Richard Pierpoint, a Black Loyalist. Based in the Niagara region throughout the war, it fought at Queenston Heights in Oct. 1812 and at the siege of Fort George in May 1813
Blacks in the British Army, 1837-1838
The Great War & Black SoldiersCanadian Blacks in WW1
Black NewspapersThe Provincial Freeman Founded in Windsor on March 24, 1853
Voice of the Fugitive The first issue of the first Black newspaper in Ontario appeared on Jan. 1, 1851
CD ROMs & BooksSee CD roms & Books including Slave Narratives CD-ROM , Finding Your African American Ancestors and more
Visit other Websites1793 Anti-Slavery Act
Slavery in British North America
Preserving Black History- the Alvin D. McCurdy Collection
Ontario Black History Society
John Freeman Walls Historic Site and Underground Railroad Museum
Buxton National Historic Site Celebrating the Underground Railroad and Early Black Settlement In Canada
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Black History Collection The J. J. Talman Collection black history manuscript holdings include the papers of the Canadian Black Studies Project, produced by the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, London, Ontario
The Benson Special Collection Black History Collection
Ontario Black History Society Archives
Black History in Early Toronto
Extracts from"Negroes in Toronto, 1793-1865" By Daniel G. Hill
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