Genealogy, Ancestry & Local History

The Barrie Public Library has a Local History collection available to access in the Downtown Branch. We also house the research collection of the Simcoe County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Check out the Online Resources section below to find a list of recommended websites and databases.

Local History

Our Local History collection is available to view in the library but can’t be borrowed. The section contains books, microfilms, and other documents covering the history, geography, geology, culture and socio-economic  structure of Simcoe County. It specifically focuses on Barrie, Oro-Medonte, Springwater (including Vespra), Innisfil and Essa.

Barrie Public Library Genealogy Fair

Join us for the annual BPL Gene Fair, spend the day learning from local experts at various workshops designed for both the beginner and advanced researchers. Get help on using Family Search or Ancestry databases and get tips on search strategies from experienced community members and library staff. Explore the Expo with informative displays and vendors who are ready to listen to your story and help with your search.

Check back soon for details on our Online 2020 BPL Gene Fair planned for Saturday, October 24 at our Downtown Library location. 


The Ontario Genealogical Society’s collection of genealogical resources includes cemetery transcriptions, census records, settler’s database, and birth, marriage and death indexes.

Ancestry Library
For a limited time, access Ancestry Library from home. Find genealogical records for Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. It includes census, vital statistics, church, court, and immigration records, including records from other geographical areas.

Genealogy Request

This service can provide:

  • Look up birth, marriage, and death information in newspapers from index citations.
  • Lookup information in census documents, settler documents, and other historical materials.

Library staff can provide copies of original articles and records for a fee. This service costs $5.00 for the first six records, and $1 for each additional record. Payment can be made by cash, cheque or by phone with your credit card.

Please make cheques payable to 'Barrie Public Library' and send them to:

Finance Dept.
Barrie Public Library
60 Worsley Street
Barrie, ON 
L4M 1L6

For more complex questions, we will direct you to sources where you can start your search. Fill out the request form below and we'll try to answer within 3 working days.

Genealogy Request

Genealogy Request


Research Resources Available

Atlases, Maps, Gazetteers

  • Historical county atlases for Ontario
  • All provincial gazetteers and assorted historical gazetteers

Biographical Dictionaries

  • Central Canadians, 1600-1900
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 1000-1910

Births, Marriages and Deaths

  • Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Barrie Newspapers. 1847-1960 (available online)
  • Indexes to Government of Ontario Registrations:
    • Births 1869-1914
    • Marriages 1869-1929
    • Deaths 1869-1939
  • Government of Ontario Registrations:
    • Births 1869-1914
    • Marriages 1869-1914, 1927
    • Deaths 1869-1919, 1932
  • Various other indexes and registers

Cemetery Records

  • Inventory of Cemeteries in Ontario: a Genealogical Research Guide
  • Monumental Transcriptions: Records of 60 Burial Grounds in Central North Simcoe County
  • Individual cemetery transcriptions for Simcoe County (indexes available through Simcoe County Surname Index) including Barrie Union, Alliston, Orillia, Innisfil and others.

Census Returns

  • Ancestry Library- Census, vital statistics, church, court, and immigration records from Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and other areas.
  • Personal name census for Ontario 1842-1911
  • Name indexes to the 1871 census for all Ontario counties and 1861 and 1891 for Simcoe County  

Church Records

  • Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers 1825 - 1910
  • Other selected registers

Court Records

  • Index to Probate and Surrogate Court Records in Simcoe County - 1828-1929


  • Barrie city directories 1927 to present
  • Barrie telephone directories 1884 to 1979 (Ontario-wide on microfilm) and 1984 to present (Local History shelves)
  • Genealogical Research Directory: National and International 1985, 1988 to present
  • Other selected directories, such as Toronto 1837, Ontario 1857

Land Records

  • Ontario Archives Land Record Index
  • Index to Upper Canada Land Books 1787-1841

Local History

  • Histories of churches, schools, personalities, communities in Simcoe County
  • Tweedsmuir Histories for selected Simcoe County townships

Loyalist and Military Records

  • Books, maps and microfiche for Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes


  • Publications of many Canadian genealogical societies


Online Resources

  • Ancestry Library- Census, vital statistics, church, court, and immigration records from Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and other areas.
  • Archives of Ontario - Tracing Your Family History- Genealogical holdings of the Archives of Ontario and links for genealogical research, information regarding births, marriages and deaths, microfilm interloans, wills and estates.
  • Barrie Historical Newspaper Archive- Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Barrie Newspapers, 1847-1960
  • Genealogy and Family History- Military Records, Land Grants, Census Returns, as well as lists of resources arranged by provinces.
  • Cyndi's List- Comprehensive genealogical website covering worldwide resources, arranged by category and searchable by topic.
  • Family Search - LDS- Ancestral Files; 1880 Census of the United States; 1881 census of Great Britain; 1881 Census of Canada.
  • GenUKI- Comprehensive information about genealogical research in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including parish registers, birth, marriage and death certificates, surnames lists.
  • Historical County Atlases of Ontario- Digitized illustrated historical county atlases of Ontario, published in 1874-1881. Searchable by name or county.
  • History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy- Great primer for budding genealogical researchers with lists of recommended online resources.
  • Ontario Genealogical Society - Simcoe County Branch- Includes the Surname Index for many Simcoe County cemeteries, family names of the 1861 and 1891 census, Settlers Forms, Pedigree Charts, Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Records.
  • OurOntario- OurOntario searches across hundreds of sites. You can find audio, video, text, government documents, images and collections about Ontario, or from an Ontario organization. Great for searching historical local newspaper articles, birth/marriage/death notices and archival photographs. Includes pre-1980 Barrie Examiner and other local newspapers.
  • OurRoots– Full text of local histories from across Canada
  • RootsWeb- One of the largest genealogical websites, with a heavy focus on U.S. family research.
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biographies- a reference work of Canadian Biographies
  • Many Roads- 'Mega search engine' of the top 100 genealogy websites

Surname Index

Index of surnames and settlers' names contained in documents of the Simcoe County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society