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Settlement of Canada

The area now known as Canada was settled as early as various parts of the United States. The French established outposts and later settlements in what became Nova Scotia in 1605 and Quebec in 1608. The English began fur trading and settlement by the 1670s. In 1713, the English received Nova Scotia and began colonizing there in 1749.

As in the lower colonies, they established churches and local governments, and kept records. Virtually all of the records we will discuss in the next course, dealing with the Colonial time period, apply for Canada as well as the future United States.

With the ending of the Revolutionary War, settlement in Canada increased. Britain could no longer send their emigrants to the United States (at least, not as a government action, such as when they sent convicts to America in the 18th century). Government sponsored emigration from Great Britain, which later turned to Australia, greatly impacted the still British colonies in North America. Nowhere was that more evident than in Ontario.

England obtained Quebec in 1763 as a result of the French and Indian War. At that time, Quebec also included the area later known as Ontario. After the U.S. Revolutionary War, the northern colonies, who had not participated in the Revolution, and who had remained loyal to Great Britain became known as British North America. In 1791, Quebec was divided into Lower (later Eastern) Canada, later renamed Quebec, and Upper (later Western) Canada, now known as Ontario.

Here then are the clues you can watch for in your research. Was your ancestor ever associated with these terms?

  • Lower Canada-Eastern Canada-Quebec
  • Upper Canada-Western Canada-Ontario

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