Local History and Genealogy

Richmond Hill Public Library offers a variety of genealogy and local history services to community members, which includes access to print and digital resources, research assistance, and use of our microfilm/microfiche reader.

Not sure where to begin? Browse our website to help get you started on your research. You’re also encouraged to schedule an appointment with our Local History Librarian, who will be pleased to assist you with your research. Book an appointment by calling at 905-884-9288 Ext. 5068, or by email.

Extensive Collections

In addition to housing the largest genealogical collection in York Region, we hold a significant and impressive collection of unique, historically-focused materials about Richmond Hill and surrounding communities, including:

  • The Helen Schwab Collection which contains over one hundred volumes of information on families from the regions of York, Durham, and Peel
  • Photographs, postcards, posters, and other ephemera
  • Atlases and Maps
  • Local newspapers (1857 - present)
  • Historical tax assessment records (1905 - 1957)
  • Microfilms and microfiche (including probated wills and other local newspapers)
  • Books and monographs
  • Magazines, journals, and newsletters
  • Family histories and scrapbooks
  • Unique and rare research and primary source materials

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Digital Collections

Our extensive digital collections include:

  • Photographs
  • Local newspapers and clippings from 1857 to 1979
  • Local history books and brochures
  • Rare documents
  • Vintage posters

We also provide access to a number of additional digital resources freely available to members. These include:

  • Ancestry Library Edition (in-library use only)
  • Toronto Star Pages of the Past (1894-2019)
  • The Globe & Mail Archives (1844-2018)
  • Early Canadiana Online
  • Our Ontario

Explore Our Digital Resources

History and Genealogy Programs

The library organizes programs on a variety of local history and genealogy-related topics. Review the latest edition of our program guide, In the Know, for upcoming programs. 

Browse Our Program Guide

York Region OGS Library

The Library also houses the collection of the York Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, which includes local cemetery transcriptions. The York Branch holds its meeting at Central Branch and are open to the public. Visit their website for a schedule of their upcoming programs.

The Mary Lou Griffin Local History Room

Learn more about the Mary-Lou Griffin Local History Room and the equipment we have available to assist you with your research.

Find out more