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An Introduction to Court Records 

These records were created by the various levels of courts throughout the province in carrying out their mandate and include court proceedings, criminal indictment files, and wills and divorces.

Court Records at the Archives belong to Record Group 22. Only a very small portion of the Archives holdings of Court Records have been microfilmed.

  • The Probate and the Surrogate Courts' Records are comprised of Will and Estate Files. Within each section, entries are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the county or district. Probate Court records are listed at the beginning of the Probate and Surrogate Court section under the heading "PROVINCE WIDE".

  • One section is for Courts of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace Records. Besides dealing with minor criminal charges, these Courts were also responsible for District administration, including:

    • appointing the District Treasurer and Surveyor

    • maintaining District finances

    • overseeing the establishment and collection of local assessments

    • ordering the construction of local roads and bridges

    • granting of tavern, shop and still licenses

    • building a proper courthouse and goal for the District.

  • Perth County Clerk of the Peace baptism, marriage and death records (RG 22- Series 4286). This series consists of annual returns of marriages, baptisms and deaths made by ministers residing in the County of Perth and filed by the Clerk of the Peace (after 1869, acting as Division Registrar) as well as related registers, indexes and record books.

  • Johnstown District Clerk of the Peace Baptism, Marriage and Death Returns (RG 22- Series 2986). This series consists of returns of baptisms, marriages and deaths filed (between 1831 and 1859 and, after 1869 acting as District Registrar) by the Clerk of the Peace for the Johnstown District and its successor, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. The returns are summaries of church registers kept by clergy of various denominations, which were filed as required with the Clerk of the Peace. The forms used for the returns are not uniform throughout.

  • Court of King's Bench records of high treason trial of 1814 (RG 22-143) This series consists of the few remaining records of the High Treason Trials held at Ancaster during May and June 1814.

  • Court of Appeal solicitors' civil and criminal appeal files (RG 22-523 ) Series consists of civil appeal (predominantly 1951-) and criminal appeal predominantly 1950-) case files filed with the Registrar of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

  • Hastings County Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace minute book (RG 22-9) Series consists of a single minute book for the Victoria District (1837-1849) and the County of Hastings (1850-1866). This book also includes Clerk of the Peace records of oaths of office, allegiance, abjuration, and oaths of Justices of the Peace. There is a gap in this minute book from 1846-1860.

  • Court of Chancery and Supreme Court Central Office Indexes to Civil Actions and Civil Suits (RG 22-5809). Series consists of indexes to Central Office (Toronto) Supreme Court civil actions. Only 1978 is available for loan. Other years are available on self-service microfilm in the Archives of Ontario Reading Room.

  • York County Court Index to Matters (RG 22-5861). Series consists of indexes to York County (Toronto) Matters files. Only vol. 14 (1901-1932) and vols. 12 & 13 (1977 and 1978) are available for loan. Other years are available on self-service microfilm in the Archives of Ontario Reading Room.

  • Criminal Assize Clerk criminal indictment files (RG 22-392). Criminal indictment case files were the files created by the Crown Attorney in preparing the prosecution's case against people charged with serious criminal offences such as murder, rape, arson, theft and fraud. The files are arranged in alphabetical order by county, then in chronological order by Assize Session and finally in rough alphabetical order by the surname of the first person named on the bill of indictment.

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Additional Information

If you have not researched a will before you might wish to follow these links for more information.

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