Prior to counties becoming administrative entities in the 1850s, the province of Upper Canada (Ontario) was initially divided into four administrative Districts which were subdivided as population grew to become 25 Districts. Early efforts at civil registration were recorded by those Districts.
The Home District existed until the 1850s and included the area that is now Toronto. The Home District also included all or part of the following contemporary counties: York, Durham, Ontario, Simcoe, Wentworth, Halton, Brant & Peel.*
During the early period of settlement all ministers who performed marriages with the exception of Anglican and Roman Catholic ministers, were required to submit returns to the Clerk of the Peace for the District where the minister resided. That said, plenty of Anglicans and Catholics were married by nonconformist ministers, usually as a result of their preferred church not having been established in their locale yet. The Clerk of the Peace then recorded the returns in a District register kept in the District office. Particularly in the earliest period, the Clerk of the Peace may have used the registers for more than recording marriages. For instance, in Home District Part 1, you’ll find lists of militiamen swearing oaths of allegiance, land forfeited by treasonous acts, as well as a few burials and lots of baptisms
The Home District registers (Volume 11) include all or part of: York, Durham, Ontario, Simcoe, Wentworth, Halton, Brant & Peel. An example of some of the towns and townships where marriages occurred and were reported in the Home District Register include: Vaughan, Windham, Markham, Toronto, Georgina, Caledon, North Gwillimbury, Chinguacousy, Thorah, Brock, Whitby, Town of York, Esquesing, Scarborough, Penetanguishine, York Township, Streetsville, Etobicoke, Trafalgar, Albion, Adjala, Mono, Millford Mills, City of Hamilton, Gore of Toronto, Nelson, Pickering, Reach, Cobourg, Whitchurch, Uxbridge, East Gwillimbury, Eldon, Clark, Murray, Erin, Amarranth, Mariposa, Tay, Orillia, Tecumseth, Medonte, Oro, King, Darlington, and a number of other areas.
The Home District registers (Volume 11) are published in four parts as downloadable PDFs. Each part includes an extensive introductory essay on finding early vital records, maps, a comprehensive index to names, and a list of the applicable microfilm numbers for the original registers—which are now digitized on FamilySearch.org.
*If you’re looking for an area outside the Home District, please visit GlobalGenealogy.com.