William Dickson Settlement Scheme

The William Dickson Settlement Scheme: Finding Ancestors in Dumfries Township 1820s – 1840s
sponsored by Waterloo Branch, co-hosted with Wellington Branch

In 1816. William Dickson purchased over 90,000 acres in the area between Galt and Brantford, east and west of the Grand River, and he set about settling his surveyed lots with fellow countrymen from the Borders area in Scotland.  Over the following decades he, and his son after him,  allocated land to hundreds of immigrants who took up his offer in what he named Dumfries Township (later North and South Dumfries Township, Counties of Waterloo and Brant).  Although little has been written about this settlement scheme, records abound with rich detail about each immigrant family’s experience. The full picture is difficult to piece together as the records are distributed among archives and among collections within archives.  This lecture will briefly describe William Dickson’s settlement scheme; use examples to show the types of land records he kept and the information they contain; show where to find the records; offer tips for searching within the collections: showcase useful ancillary records and highlight gems found in historical secondary sources.

Dianne Brydon likes nothing better than spending an afternoon sneezing through boxes of 18th- and 19th-century documents.  She applied her M.A. in historical geography to research her Brydon family’s 1829 emigration to North Dumfries and their subsequent settlement experience, and with her father published a book about it.  She has given talks to family history groups in Scotland and Canada and published several articles.  She is the current President of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

*Thank you to Dianne for offering the recording of this webinar to remain freely available to everyone.