For Genealogists

family tree

There is quite a bit of Information for genealogists on this site - it is best accessed using the search feature above.  Note that I have almost zero additional information - it is all on the web site.  If you contact me, I will be polite but I don’t have any additional information. The best additional source of info for researchers is at the Cobourg Library where they have a local history room stocked with many historical books and documents. They do have some photos on-line but not much more - you need to visit.

A good source of information is the Northumberland County Archives. Contact the archivist Emily Cartlidge by email here or County Web site here.


Cobourg has a lot of fine buildings and these are now mostly cherished and preserved.  This was not always true.


This connection between King Street and the Covert street parking lot was not always a throughway. Henley Arcade is named after the owner of the last business that occupied that spot, although that was not the first business to occupy the location.  It opened as J.S. Bowen's Variety Store and Barber Shop before John Henley Shoe Repair opened its doors there.  Here are two biographies of John Henley.

Victoria Hall, built in the 1850s, is the centrepiece of History and Architecture in Cobourg. Below right is how it is today but in the 1950s, after years of successive town councils paying no attention to maintenance, the inevitable happened. In 1970-71 Victoria Hall was declared structurally unsafe and it was vacated. A band of Cobourg citizens, interested in local history, organized themselves into the Society for the Restoration of Victoria Hall. Architect Peter John Stokes was hired to draw up plans to restore the building to its original grandeur and also to bring its operating facilities into the 20th century.

"The Barracks" by the History students at CDCI West

Unfortunately, very little has been written about the building.  Any written accounts that mention the Barracks (encountered to date) were written in the last 30 years.  Many people have taken this omission to mean the building had no importance.  However, there is very little written about Cobourg's involvement in the war of 1812 by any writer. 

THE SIFTON COOK HERITAGE CENTRE  - An historical review by Catherine Milne

A detailed analysis of the origins of the building known as the "Barracks".
Why it does not have military origins.

Original Post Office Building and notable hotels Arlington and Cedarmere

Many homes in Cobourg are connected to the history of the town. Here are some of them.

A Guide to the History and Architectural Heritage of Cobourg

Courtesy of Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) - Cobourg Branch

The following is the introduction to a brochure titled Interesting people and Places and published by ACO in 2008. It included a Guide to a Cobourg Walking Tour which you can see here.

Courtesy of Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) - Cobourg Branch

The following is the Walking Tour included in a brochure titled Interesting people and Places and published by ACO in 2008. For the Introduction see Introduction to ACO Walking Tour. A link to the original ACO version in print friendly pdf format is at the bottom of this page.

In the early 1830s, the Methodist Church decided to build the Upper Canada Academy in Cobourg. They laid the cornerstone on June 7, 1832 (or was it June 9?) and opened it on June 18, 1836. The total cost of constructing the building was $40,000.

Northumberland Hall is one of the fine examples of homes of the Edwardian Period and is the namesake of the county. It was built in 1826 for one of Cobourg's early distinguished citizens, George Strange Boulton. Cobourg, at the time. ranked with Kingston and York (Toronto) as important towns in Upper Canada. A visitor to town in 1831 remarked upon Boulton's "elegant mansion built on rising ground below the village".

On the outskirts of Cobourg, to the East, is the town of Grafton. Much of the History of Grafton is related to Cobourg's History - one famous person was Henry Ruttan who was Sheriff of the district starting in 1827. Grafton was a Port and a stop on the Kingston Road but also a settlement of ordinary people. One such person left his mark with the house/store he built, James Lawless.