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Historically Correct Place Names for Canada

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#1 rwcrooks


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Posted 05 April 2016 - 12:19 PM

I'm cleaning up my database and struggling with getting my Canadian place names historically correct.  I use a 4 portion place name in the format: Town/Parish, County, State/Province, Country.


Is there some sort of list somewhere (anywhere?) that lists when the Great White North went from New France, to British America, British North America, the Province of Canada, the United Province of Canada, the Dominion of Canada, and finally Canada?


Same thing for Upper and Lower Canada, Canada East and West, Ontario and Quebec, which I think I've nailed down.


Even my schoolteacher French-Canadian brother-in-law is at a loss to help me.

#2 TomH


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Posted 05 April 2016 - 01:26 PM

RootsMagic's County Check is not very helpful for our history. I've not had to deal with the evolution from New France. Although I suspect you have a good understanding of the evolution of Ontario, I will refer you to a page I created for the areas of interest to my local genealogical society in case there is something of value to you there: http://www.lakeshore...story-area/maps


For earlier colonial era, I would start with Wikipedia and the references found therein. Often, a place has a good synopsis of its history, covering name and boundary changes.  

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.

#3 KFN


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Posted 05 April 2016 - 01:51 PM

I would agree with Tom, check wikipedia. In Norway we have the same issues with name changes. Sometimes county websites have a history page or a history community group that is on the web as well. Even knowing that the place name changed is a step in the right direction.

#4 mleroux


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Posted 06 April 2016 - 09:23 AM

Is this just the dates of the name change or the dates of the "County" changes in Quebec? Prior to 1763 New France used a system of land grants/Seigneuries in 3 administrative areas (Quebec City, Montreal, Trois Rivieres). After the British occupation in 1763 they introduced the county system, and many of the larger Seigneurie names were used.

A good reference for the Seigneuries is here:

There seem to be a few missing at the western edge:Seigneurie de L'Île-Perrot, Seigneurie de Vaudreuil, Seigneurie de Soulanges and Seigneurie de Rigaud

The seigneurial system (which after 1773 included some English land grants) was finally abolished in 1854.


In 1774 the name was officially changed to Québec. Note that at this point there was still land in the US that was part of Quebec.

in 1791 Québe cwas divided into Upper and Lower Canada

in 1818 the Canada/US border defined as the 49th parallel

in 1841 Lower Canada renamed Canada East. Canada East and Canada West referred to as "Province of Canada"

in 1867 renames Province of Québec


I need to claim ignorance on the official usage of British North America. I believe that it is the encompassing term used from 1780's to 1867 to represent the NA territorial lands (including parts of the present day US).

Wikipedia has an article on BNA


in 1982 Quebec moved from Counties to regional county municipality (RCM)  or  municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) and equivalent territories (TE) which redefined a number of boundaries. A list of historic counties can be found here:


Note that their boundaries also changed occasionally over the years.


There is also Rupert's Land that existed from 1700 to 1870ish, eventually combined with the North-West Territories in 1870. The NWT encompassed parts of Ontario and Manitoba through 1905ish.


Personally, when referring to anything that is located in Quebec, I just use the Quebec, Canada irrespective of date rather than the "Lower Canada"/"Canada East" designations.


I hope this helps

Always learning and loving the discovery process. Focusing on the Huntingdon and Soulanges areas of Quebec - O'Connor/Leroux/Walsh/McCann/Savage/Lalonde/Lauzon

#5 zhangrau


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Posted 06 April 2016 - 01:12 PM

I have downloaded some free ebooks of old gazetteers for Quebec and Ontario. Free ebooks tend to be poorly formatted, and they tend to suffer from OCR issues that render some paragraphs as Klingon, but they are good resources. Search in your favorite browser for "free books" or "free ebooks".


And try these:

 - Gutenburg project http://www.gutenberg.org/

 - http://www.knowledge-download.com/

 - https://www.free-ebooks.net/