Genealogy at RHPL

Let Us Help You Discover Your Past

The extensive collections of the Richmond Hill Public Library are a great way to start or continue your family journey. While we hold a large quantity of unique local family history and genealogy resources and information, the Library can also help you regardless of where you or your ancestors are from.

Library Guides to Assist You

We have created a number of useful Library Guides to help you with your genealogical research. New guides are continually being developed and will be added to this page. Click the buttons below to access hyperlinked PDFs and enhance your knowledge, learn of new resources and find out what we can do to help you.

Guide to Genealogy

Guide to Writing Family History

Unique Local Resources

Resources pertaining to Richmond Hill and York County are emphasized in our genealogy collections, which include:

  • church records
  • census returns
  • land records
  • cemetery records
  • voter rolls
  • high school yearbooks
  • and more

Of particular local interest is the Helen Schwab Collection, which provides background information and data on families who settled in the regions of York, Durham, and Peel. The collection was developed locally and much of the information has not been published elsewhere.

Family Histories and Files

In addition to the Helen Schwab collection, we have a large collection of published family histories and vertical files which may contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, biographical information and materials located or donated by other researchers.

Local Digital Collections

The Richmond Hill Public Library continues to develop and expand our digital local history and genealogy collections to facilitate and support the research needs of local historians, genealogists and history buffs. To learn about and access these collections, visit our Digital Resources page.

Commercial Digital Collections

Your library card is also a gateway to other valuable digital history collections freely available to you. To learn about and access these collections, visit our Digital Resources page.

Genealogy Materials to Borrow

Your Richmond Hill Public Library card provides you with access to a number of items in our regular collections that you can borrow. Covering a wide range of topics from getting started to DNA, these books will help you advance your research, teach you new skills and help you uncover other valuable tools and resources to learn more about your family.

During the Library's closure due to COVID-19, you may place holds on circulating items at Central Library and take advantage of our curbside pickup.

Genealogy Materials at Central

Free Online Resources

The Internet offers a wealth of genealogy-related information and resources and here are just a few free online resources:

  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Archives of Ontario
  • FamilySearch – International genealogical data is available from the FamilySearch databases of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Note that Richmond Hill Public Library is an affiliate Library with FamilySearch.
  • FamilySearch Research Wiki – A free, online genealogy and family history guide that lists websites and suggests records and resources to help you find ancestors from all over the world. Includes Guided Research for certain parts of the world including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Italy.
  • Our Ontario – Our Ontario is a portal to local history resources contributed by libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, community groups, and government ministries throughout Ontario. Highlights include historic local newspapers, photographs, maps, oral histories, videos and more...
  • Canadiana – Canadian heritage content from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network.