Tuesday, June 2, 1998

Could you please explain the breakdown of counties to townships, etc? What does "Concession" mean on the census list I retrieved?

A township is a geographic and/or municipal division of a county. Within each township boundary there will be numbered line roads which run in a common direction and numbered concession roads which run (usually) at right angles to the line roads. The exact location of an individual property -- a farm, for example -- can be determined by its Lot Number and the Number of the Line Road or Concession Road running across the front of the property -- usually a Concession Road. Many farm properties were further divided into halves or quarters -- i.e. "the north half, Lot 34, Concession 3". In the Prairie Provinces of Canada a township is an area of about 93 square kilometres and is divided into 36 sections. This does not apply elsewhere in Canada, Ontario, for example. It should also be noted that line and concession markings do not always indicate the existence of roads but, whatever roads were built, usually followed those surveys

In addition, Townships are used in genealogical research to narrow down the area in which to search. As most governmental records are first divided by county, then by township (such as census records) this would mean your first step in research would be to check township instead of the entire county. Using this method of township, then county, research cuts down on time spent needlessly looking in the 'wrong' area. Concessions are used to give an exact location of settlement. They are especially useful if your ancestor settled in a rural area (which means most of Ontario in the 1800's). Pictoral examples of Townships & Concessions

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