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Skip Navigation LinksSimcoe County > Archives > Historical Research from Home

Historical Research from Home

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ferndale School, ca. 1902 

​​​2001-19 Ferndale School, ca. 1902   Copyright​​:  Public Domain

​​​​​​Are you a teach​er, parent or student learning about Simcoe County's history from  home?  ​​​Staff at the Simcoe County Archives have put together a list of on-line resources​ to help you learn about the people, schools, organizations, businesses, and events that form the history of our ​communities.

​​​​Resources for Historical Research

Simcoe County Archives​

The Simcoe County Archives offers a great wealth of information about the history of Simcoe County. Search and browse the collections descriptions through the online database, read blog posts and view exhibits. Learn about the Simcoe County Archives itself or, by searching the Simcoe County Remembers database, about the men and women who served in WWI.

Simcoe County Museum

The Simcoe County Museum comes into your home for online learning and fun during COVID-19.

Simcoe County Geographical Information Systems – Interactive Story Maps

Tour the war memorials and historic sites of Simcoe County through interactive story maps.

Local History Resources 

Internet Archives – A History of Simcoe County by Andrew F. Hunter

Originally published in 1909, the two volumes of Andrew F. Hunter's A History of Simcoe County continue to be the go-to resources for the history of early Simcoe County.  The first volume covered the Simcoe County's public affairs, while the second detailed the histories of the pioneers.

Simcoe County Historical Association

This site provides links to many blogs​​​​​, archived newsletters of SCHA, and links to history websites for further research.

Simcoe County Branch, Ontario Ancestors (Ontario Genealogical Society)

The Simcoe County Branch of Ontario Ancestors brings together and assists those interested in the pursuit of genealogy and family history in Simcoe County. Browse collections held by the Barrie Public Library, a settler database, and links to township and cemetery maps.

1837 Directory of Toronto and the Home District

PDF of The City of Toronto and the Home District Commercial Directory and Register for 1837.  (The Home District included parts of what is now Simcoe County)

Toronto Public Library - Directories of Simcoe County

Digital Archive of directories from Simcoe County from various years.

The Jesuit Relations and the History of New France – Reuben Gold Thwaites Translations

This site offers a digital version of The Jesuit Relations and allied documents: travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791: the original French, Latin, and Italian texts, with English translations and notes.

Barrie Historical Newspaper Archive

Search and browse past issues of Barrie newspapers.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library Archives 

The Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library's digital collection provides access to a variety of records including vital statistics, newspaper articles, and photographs.

Collingwood Local History and Genealogy

An overview of the Collingwood Public Library's local history collection and genealogy resources.

Collingwood Historical Society

Information about the history and stories of Collingwood and the surrounding area.

Our Stories Innisfil

A collaboration between the Innisfil Public Library, Innisfil Historical Society, and the Rotary Club of Innisfil. Our Stories Innisfil provides access to photographs, oral histories and documents about the history and inhabitants of Innisfil and Bradford West Gwillimbury.

This site offers great resources and links about the history and stories of Innisfil. There are tips and links provided to help with family history research.

Ibid Net

IBID is an information database housing historical records and photos from the local area of Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil. Search for essays, artifacts and images from the past, for submitting your own images and stories.

Library and Archives Canada - Hallen Family fonds​

Online digital access to ​records of the Hallen Family of Orillia Township and Penetanguishene held at Library and Archives Canada.

New Tecumseth Public Library 

  • ​​​Digital History
    This collection showcases the history of New Tecumseth. It is organized by community and then by subject.

  • Banting Digital Library
    This digital collection from the New Tecumseth Public Library provides a look into Sir Frederick Banting's life and work.

Orillia Genealogy and Local History 

The Orilliana Collection from the Orillia Public Library includes original materials from the City of Orillia and the surrounding townships. The William Frost Scrapbooks and Champlain Committee Minutes are offered as online resources.

Orillia in Pictures

This site from the Orillia Public Library allows for searching by subject, people or places for pictures that appeared in local newspapers.

Orillia News, Views and More

This tool from the Orillia Public Library allows for searching and browsing past issues of Orillia newspapers and periodicals.

Ramara Historical Society

This site is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the former townships of Mara and Rama, as well as the former Rama Reserve. It provides local history stories, photographs and articles written by members of the historical society.

Town of Wasaga Beach Archives ​

The Wasaga Beach Archives provides information on the history of Wasaga Beach and the surrounding area.


Ontario Historical Society 

The Ontario Historical Society's digital archive provides back issues of the society's scholarly journal published since 1899.

Ontario Ancestors - Ontario Genealogical Society

This site offers online resources for researching family history in Ontario. Webinars are free for online viewing for the live presentations, then with membership, access to past-recorded presentations.

Ontario Heritage Trust 

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an organization in which the places, landscapes, traditions and stories that embody Ontario's heritage are reflected, valued and conserved.

Ontario Heritage Fairs Association

The Ontario Heritage Fairs Association offers information about heritage in Canada. It offers a list of online heritage resources for students, parents and teachers.

​University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital collections (including Ontario local histories)

This site offers digital versions of various historical texts from across Canada including Ontario. The digital version of the Simcoe County: Pioneer Papers can be found here.

Ontario Genealogy

This site offers a list of Ontario history books, directories that are free to download or read online.

Ontario Locator

Ontario Locator is a directory of past and present place names in Ontario. Created to assist with locating the township, county or district when researching family histories in Ontario.

Toronto Public Library - Ontario Time Machine

This site is designed to support the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum expectations for student and teacher learning activities. It is for those students studying history from 1759 to WWI.

Our Ontario

Our Ontario offers 2.3 million items and collections from libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, community groups, and government ministries.

Sharon Temple National Historic Site and Museum

The Sharon Temple offers a great learn from home page and museum online games to engage learners during COVID-19.


Canadian Historical Association

This site has searchable resources and links for at-home learning during COVID-19.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Online detailed biographies of prominent Canadians, including a Biography of the Day, Introductory Essays of the DCB, subject area searches and resources for educators.

Historica Canada

Historica Canada offers programs, which allow for exploration, learning and reflection on the history of Canada.

  • Heritage Minutes
    The Heritage Minutes are a collection of bilingual Canadian 60-second short films, depicting a significant person, event or story in Canadian history.

  • Think Like a Historian
    The Think Like a Historian series of videos and resources is a curriculum-based learning tool for educators and students to build skills to analyze and interpret primary sources.

  • The Memory Project
    The Memory Project invites veterans and Canadian Forces members to share their military experience with fellow Canadians. There is an online archive and speaker' bureau to browse.

  • Radio Minutes
    Canada's defining moments and personalities are captured in 90-second dramas heard on radio stations across Canada.

Canada's History

This site provides online resources such as podcasts, magazines, blog posts, book reviews and digital archives exploring Canada's history.

Canadian Museum of History

The Canadian Museum of History offers virtual exhibits, access to their digital collection and videos for online learning during COVID-19.

CBC-CBC Learning (Canada: A People's History) Literary Links

 A list of literary sources used to create the series Canada: A People's History.

CBC Digital Archives

Browse and search past Canadian news stories.

Canadian Encyclopedia

This site provides Canadians and others with accurate, updated information about Canada.

Immigrants at Grosse Isle Quarantine Station​

Browse and search the database regarding the 30000 immigrants who passed through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station.

Canadian Research Knowledge Network

Search and browse scholarly journal content of Canada's documentary heritage.

Archives and Libraries

​​Museum of Dufferin

The Museum of Dufferin, formerly known as the Dufferin County Museum and Archives, has online research and resources for learning from home during COVID-19.

Grey Roots Museum and Archives

This site offers many links to heritage resources for researching family histories.

PAMA – Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archives

This site “brings art and history exploration home with a variety of easy, fun filled activities for all ages."


Archeion is a service provided by the Archives Association of Ontario. (AAO). Search and browse to find records of businesses, individuals, families and organizations from all periods of the province's history.

Archives Canada

ARCHIVES CANADA is a gateway to archival resources found in over 800 repositories across Canada.

Archives of Ontario

Search and browse the collections, which document the decisions, functions and activities of the Government of Ontario. Individuals, businesses, and organizations also donate records of enduring provincial significance that illustrate the history and development of Ontario.

Toronto Public Library - Local History and Genealogy

The Toronto Public Library has online databases and digital archives, which comprise pictures, maps, books and other historical materials, such as city directories.

Toronto Public Library - Digital Archive

Browse and access to rare historical photos, maps, books and more from the Toronto Public Library.

City of Toronto Archives

The City of Toronto Archives offers a wide variety of resources including photographs, maps, plans, municipal records and architectural drawings.

Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada acquires, processes, preserves and provides access to Canada's documentary heritage and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. Search and browse the collections which document the decisions, functions and activities of the Government of Canada.

  • Census Returns 
    Library and Archives Canada holds an extensive collection of Canadian census records from 1640 to 1926 and, for Newfoundland, from 1671 to 1945.

​​Canadian Postal Archives

This collection contains over a million items, such as stamps and other philatelic materials. It contains archival documents on all aspects of the design and production of postage stamps and on the Canadian postal service. It includes monographs, philatelic periodicals, serials, publications, stamp-club bulletins, specialized catalogues, and brochures and series on philately.

National Archives of the United Kingdom

Access records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 other archives.

University Library Collections​

University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital collections

The site offers searchable digital collections and versions of various historical texts from across Canada.

University of Toronto - Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library houses the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections including books, manuscripts and other materials. The Library acquires, makes accessible and preserves comprehensive research collections of national and international significance.

​​University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services

The University of Toronto Archives is responsible for the appraisal, acquisition, preservation and use of University records of permanent value and the private records of individuals and organizations associated with the University.

Western University Archives and Special Collections

The Western University Archives includes all fonds and collections, including both university and private records. The James Alexander and Ellen Rea Benson Special Collections include rare books, monographs, and serials with a particular emphasis on the history of southwestern Ontario.

​Military History​​​​

​Simcoe County Archives - Simcoe County Remembers

Simcoe County Remembers is a virtual supplement to the public memorials located in communities around Simcoe County.  It is a database containing the names of 1,006 men and women who had connections to Simcoe County and who died while in service or of wounds or injuries sustained during the First World War.

Simcoe County – Geographical Information Systems – War Memorials Interactive Map

Tour the war memorials of Simcoe County through an interactive story map.

Ontario War Memorials

This site offers photographs and information about the War Memorials in Ontario.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) honours the 1.7 million men and women who died in the armed forces of the British Empire during the First and Second World Wars.

Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada offers the memories, stories, and events of the courageous people that fought to keep Canada safe. Search collections of service records, video recordings and photographs.

  • Books of Remembrance
    The first seven Books of Remembrance commemorate the more than 118,000 Canadians who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country in uniform. The names inscribed in these Books of Remembrance are also in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. The eighth book, the War of 1812 Book of Remembrance was commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary of the signing of a peace treaty that ended this pivotal conflict.

Canadian Great War Project

The Canadian Great War Project is a fully searchable database dedicated to the Canadian men and women that served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the Great War (1914-1918).

Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum has hundreds of objects and thousands of photos in curated online exhibitions for learning from home during COVID-19.

Canadian War Museum - War of 1812 Virtual Exhibition​

This virtual exhibition uses historic objects and images to show the conflict from the perspective of its major participants - Americans, British, Canadians (including Canadian First Peoples), and Native Americans.

The Valiants Memorial​

The Valiants Memorial is a collection of nine busts and five statues depicting individuals who played a role in major conflicts throughout our history. Browse links, which provide more detailed information about the individuals depicted in the memorial.


Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free EPUB and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Wayback Machine

This site contains more than 424 billion webpages that have been saved over time.

Active History

ActiveHistory.ca is a website that connects the work of historians with the wider public and the importance of the past to current events. Explore podcasts, publications, resources, book reviews and essays.

Ingenium Canada

The Ingenium Channel is a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation. It helps science enthusiasts, teachers, parents, and curious Canadians share and engage with innovative stories through focused news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos.

OCLC Research (Online Computer Library Centre)

OCLC is a community resource for the research-driven advancement of libraries and archives, and provides advanced development and consultation for the teams that create and maintain OCLC's products. It also enhances OCLC's member and partner engagement to mobilize the community around shared concerns.

The Virtual Gramophone

Virtual Gramophone is a multimedia website devoted to the early days of Canadian recorded sound, providing an overview of the 78-rpm era in Canada. The database contains information for 78-rpm and cylinder recordings released in Canada from 1900 to 1950, as well as foreign recordings featuring Canadian artists and/or compositions.

Canadian Legal Information Institute

The CanLII.org website provides access to court judgments from all Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, federal courts, and the courts in all Canada's provinces and territories.

​Cyndi's List

Cyndi's List is free for everyone to use and it is meant to be a starting point when researching online. It is a comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links to genealogical research sites.

Automated Genealogy - Canadian Census Transcriptions

Automated Genealogy hosts several projects to index Canadian censuses. Each project uses simple web forms to allow volunteers to transcribe census data from the images into a database, with the entered data being immediately available on the site. 

Stayner School, ca. 1890

2014-103 Stayner​​​ School, ca. 1890   Copyright:  Public Domain

We hope you enjoy doing historical research from home.​​

​Links last updated 2020-10

The Simcoe County Archives remains closed to the public, but you can still contact us: archives@simcoe.ca