Local History and Genealogy

We are quite proud of our Local History Collection and our Local History Room.

Researchers can enjoy three computers dedicated strictly to genealogical research.
Each computer has access to suggested Internet sites, the CemSearch database and much more.

The Cobourg Public Library is also proud to be able to offer access to Ancestry Library Edition.
Access to this database is available in-library only, at any one of our public computers, or bring in your laptop and use our wireless. Other online databases that a family history researcher will find useful are:Cobourg Newspaper Index and our Archival Photos & Documents Database

We are pleased to offer two digital microfilm reader/printers in addition to our regular reader/printer. We have a collection of microfilm indexes for Births and stillbirths, Marriages and Deaths from the Archives of Ontario.

CPL Genealogical & Local History Sites

Our Local History CollectionLocal History Room

The staff of the Cobourg Public Library work hard to acquire all books that pertain to Cobourg, Hamilton Township and when possible, other communities within Northumberland County. Along with general histories, there are shelves of materials including: Family Histories ; Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC) information and, directories.


In our Local History room, researchers will find an assortment of guides to help with international research. There are also genealogical dictionaries, handwriting guides, directories for various organizations, research techniques and various forms for pedigree charts, ancestral charts, and family group records, etc


Our photograph collection consists of over 800 photos that have now been digitally scanned for easy access and reproduction. They are available online Archival Photos & Documents Database

Panoramic photo


The Cobourg Public Library has one of the most complete sets of the local newspaper in existence. A number of microfilming projects undertaken over the years have allowed our patrons to access the first issues from 1831 to present day. Miscellaneous copies of the Cobourg Advertiser and Gazette are also on microfilm. An additional bonus to researchers are the newspaper indices. This ongoing project has now created an index for all papers from 1831-1919 and from 1985 to the present day, and includes the Cobourg Star, Cobourg Sentinel, Cobourg World, Cobourg Sentinel-Star, Cobourg Daily Star and Northumberland Today.com. The index from the year 2000 to present, is available on our Cobourg Newspaper Index

Also included in this database is an index to the Northumberland News beginning January 2007 to present, and the local edition of SNAP beginning March 2008.. Although the articles themselves are not on the web due to Copyright laws, once the date and page are located, patrons are welcome to come visit us and view the newspapers on microfilm.

Census Records

Housed in our Local History room is the complete set of census data for Northumberland County from 1842-1901. The 1911 census can easily be accessed online through one of our Local History terminals. Also available are earlier assessment and collector's rolls for most of Northumberland County. A number of these years are accompanied by indices.

LACAC designated properties from both Cobourg and Hamilton Township are in bound volumes, as is the complete set of 'Curlew'.

Along with this, you will find Tweedsmuir histories, Victoria College histories, phone books, poll books and a very extensive Archival Documents collection with over one thousand clippings, documents, etc. that are indexed by subject and/or name.

CemSearch Database

One of our most used resources is the CemSearch database compiled and maintained by Ron Smith and a large group of volunteers from the Lakeshore Genealogical Society. This database can be accessed by all three of our Local History computers. It is also available online.

This database includes records taken from old cemetery transcripts that used to be in hardcopy, plus many new and updated cemeteries and their records and makes the information easy to access using either cemetery or surname search techniques.

CemSearch includes almost all of Northumberland County's active, inactive and abandoned cemeteries, and most of those of the surrounding counties.

Many of the above items are available for in-library use only.
Some material may be available on interlibrary loan through your local library.

If you are planning a visit to our area (see our map), you may wish to Email the Library (see below) in advance to clarify sources in your area of interest and to confirm hours of public access.

For researchers living far from the library, we are able to offer limited preliminary searches in indexed sources for one or two names. If you are Emailing the library with such a request, please include your full postal address as well as pertinent name/date/location search details.
Email the Reference Department: ref@cobourg.library.on.ca