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Local History and Genealogy

Explore Chatham-Kent's history at CKPL! For information on our local print resources, research services, genealogy research tips and how to start tracing your roots in Chatham-Kent, see our Local History Services page.

Digital Local History Resources

Visit OurOntario to explore all of our library's digital local history collections. 


Included in our library's digital collection are over 75 local directories published between 1875 and 2007. These directories provide invaluable information for genealogists hoping to learn about past Chatham-Kent residents. Here are links to some directories from the collection. For the full collection, visit

Chatham directory & county gazetter 1885-1886 Wallaceburg Directory 1977 Essex, Kent and Lambton year 1927 Vernon's city of Chatham (Ontario) miscellaneous, alphabetical, street and business directory for the year 1932 Kent County Gazetter and Business Directory for 1864


CKPL's digital collection also includes a series of Kent County almanacs published by the Soutar's publishing company between 1881 and 1890. These almanacs include information of local, national, and international relevance. Each directory includes descriptions of local communities and officials. Our digital collection also includes two Kent County almanacs produced by CFCO. For the full collection, visit

CFCO Kent County Family Almanac Kent County Annual & Almanac 1881 Our holiday annual and Western counties almanac for 1890

Municipal Documents

A variety of municipal directories, annual reports, plans, strategies, and by-laws are also included in CKPL's digital collection. Explore the history and development of municipal institutions using these varied resources. For the full collection, visit

 Annual report and municipal directory: year ending December 31, 1969 Traffic Planning Report for the City of Chatham, 1968 Chatham-Kent Police Annual Report, 2000 Moving forward : local governance in the 21st century : the South Kent municipal restructuring process and proposal  Municipal Directory County of Kent 1988

Kent Historical Society Publications

The Kent Historical Society has generously donated some of their publications for inclusion in our library's digital collection. Our digital collection includes all ten volumes of "Papers and Addresses" as well as "Kentiana" and "Some Historical Notes on Kent County". These Kent Historical Society publications focus on the history of Chatham-Kent detailing the growth and development of various local communities and explore the lives of influential Kent residents. For the full collection, visit

Kentiana : the story of the settlement and development of the County of Kent Some historical notes on the county of Kent taken from various sources of information now in the hands of the Kent Historical So Papers and Addresses Volumes 1

Books by Local Authors

CKPL's digital collection also contains a variety of works produced by local authors. Many local authors generously donated their books to our digital collection. These books examine a range of interesting Chatham-Kent topics, including the history of local industries and businesses; the development and growth of local communities; the history of local churches; and the stories of noteworthy historical figures. For the full collection, visit

Windfall at the forks : an architectural book on the city of Chatham  Wheatley’s Story Wallaceburg : faces and places  The First 200 Years of Blenheim & South Harwich Dresden Fire Department

CKPL gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.​

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