The Cambridge Archives

                        The City of Cambridge Archives began in 1980 as a community initiative to prepare an exhibit for the upcoming homecoming celebrations to be held that summer. Three decades later we hold over 63,000 individual items including 95 specialized collections.  Today, the Archives form part of the Corporate Archives and Records Centre which is responsible for the Cambridge Archives, Municipal Records Management and Freedom of Information Services.

 Cambridge is very fortunate to have its Historic City Hall, a place worthy of housing this wealth of information. Built in 1858, the first and second floors of the Historic City Hall now hold the paper records of the former city of Galt, as well as the paper records of Preston and Hespeler, in addition to records generated by the City of Cambridge.  This has been made possible in part through the generosity of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, provided through a generous donation to the City. Also located within Historic City Hall is the Cambridge Hall of Fame, which honours distinguished members of the community throughout its history.

View a full archive collections list for more information.  This information can be viewed at the Cambridge Archives.

 The following protocols will apply to our public service:

  • The Archives will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays only at the time.  Further days may be added at a later date.
  • The Archives Reference Room will be open by appointment only.
  • Reference Room appointments will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  A maximum of 2 appointments and 3 people total per time slot will be permitted at this time.
  • Please note that submission of an Appointment Request Form Does Not guarantee an appointment as time slots are limited.

Researchers must complete an Appointment Request Form and have their appointment confirmed by Archives Staff.

Please save the form above complete it and email it to

  • All researchers must enter the building through the side first floor entrance of the Historic City Hall (46 Dickson Street) facing the Farmers Market.  Researchers are requested to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment time.
  • Two Hour Free Parking is available in the Farmers Market Parking Lot located between Historic City Hall and the Farmers Market.
  • The number of researchers allowed into the Reference Room at any one time will be limited to 3 persons. 
  • Research time shall be limited to 2 hours.  Extensions may only be granted should there not be other appointments and subject to staffing availability. 
  • Access to public bathrooms in Historic City Hall is available.  Proper hand sanitizing must be followed after using these facilities. 
  • Public access to the reference room could be closed on short-notice subject to public health considerations and staffing availability.

Researchers wishing to view records at the Archives should contact us by email at or by calling 519-740-4680 ext. 4633 to book an appointment. 

Requests for access should be as specific as possible so that materials can be retrieved in advance of the visit.  

Cambridge Online Archives

The Cambridge Online Archives provides an index of archival records dating back over 200 years. Find indexed information on subjects such as: census records, select marriage licences and obituaries, vital statistics, veterans, meetings and agendas, reports, by-laws and other important data from the history of the City of Cambridge as well as Galt, Hespeler, Preston and Blair. There is also a collection of nearly 10,000 images online.


The City of Cambridge is pleased to offer nearly 10,000 images for viewing. When an image is used wholly or in part the Cambridge Archives shall be given credit for that image. Any other practice may be considered in violation of copyright.
Images for personal use may be obtained without the watermark free of charge. Watermark-free images for reproduction or commercial use are subject to a small fee. By using any of the photos, you agree to our Permission to Copy conditions.

Please contact the Archives for a Permission to Copy Form


There are a number of images contained herein that are the property of Law Photography. Any use or request for reproduction must be obtained from Law Photography directly.

Over 15,000 Photographs, Images, Slides, Negatives and Glass Plate Negatives 

The Cambridge Archives collection consists of more than 15,000 photographs, hundreds of negatives and slides and nearly 2,000 glass plate negatives.  Much of this image collection has been digitized and are available to view online with some restrictions.  Please use our public search to view these resources by using the link below.

Cambridge Online Archives


Please be aware the the Cambridge Archives charges for the use of photographs for non-personal use.  This includes for reproduction or commercial use.

The William Dickson Papers

The Honourable William Dickson / Dickson Family Papers fonds covers the years 1795 - 1933 with the predominant period being 1798 to 1846.  Included in the collection are papers of the Hon. William Dickson who purchased all of Dumfries Township in 1816 and who founded the City of Galt, then Shade's Mills, that same year. The papers of the Hon. William Dickson cover the period from 1798 to his death in 1846 and included among other things, a large volume of business correspondence, ledgers dealing with original land sales in the Township and in Galt, survey notes and maps, and correspondence and business papers between Mr Dickson and Absalon Shade Also included in the acquisition are books from the Dickson library owned by the Hon William Dickson, undated correspondence, the William Dickson Jr Papers (1847 - 1885), the Florence Dickson Papers 1886 - 1933, and the Philip Stedman Papers 1795 - 1802.  The latter papers deal with the early purchase of Dumfries Township from the First Nations peoples prior to Mr. Dickson's direct involvement. The collection is one of primary importance to the history of Cambridge and is considered to be one of the most complete and comprehensive collections of primary source material for the earliest history and subsequent development of a whole Ontario township presently available. 

Municipal Government Records 

The Cambridge Archives is also responsible for preserving many of the paper records of the former city of Galt, as well as the paper records of Preston and Hespeler, in addition to records generated by the City of Cambridge.  These include: Council and Committee minutes and agendas as well as By-Laws and other records documenting the day to day business of the City of Cambridge.

Highland Light Infantry War Diaries

The fonds consists of the bound diaries documenting the action seen by the Highland Light Infantry during the Second World War. After the battle of Buron and the march to Caen, the Highland Light Infantry came under the command of the 2nd Canadian Corps and with that formation, the battalion fought through to the German surrender.  Almost without exception the Highland Light Infantry of Canada led the division and helped to liberate many towns in northern France and the Netherlands.  The clearing of the Scheldt Estuary followed as the battalion moved forward to Nijmegen and became the first regiment to cross the Rhine into Germany. Note that these diaries are also available on microfilm.

Cemetery Records 

Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) grave marker transcriptions 


Complete a live search for cemetery transcriptions online.

Cemetery transcriptions (produced by the OGS) available within our local archives include:

  • Arkell United Church, Puslinch
  • Brethren in Christ, Puslinch
  • Cedar Creek Cemetery
  • Crieff/Knox Presbyterian, Puslinch
  • Crown Cemetery
  • Dickie Settlement Cemetery
  • Hagey Mennonite Cemetery
  • Hallman Mennonite Cemetery
  • Harvie Cemetery
  • Howitt Cemetery
  • Killean Presbyterian, Puslinch
  • Mount View Cemetery
  • New Hope Cemetery
  • Old Blair Cemetery
  • Old Preston Cemetery
  • Pioneer Pergola
  • Puslinch Union Cemetery
  • St. Andrew's Burial Ground
  • St. Clement's R.C. Cemetery
  • St. Mary's R.C. Cemetery
  • St. Patrick's R.C. Cemetery
  • Sheffield Cemetery
  • Trinity Anglican Cemetery
  • Wanner Mennonite Cemetery
Vernon's directories
Vernon's directories on file at the Cambridge Archives include Galt and Preston from 1900 and Hespeler from 1973 (with amalgamation).  Vernon's Directories ceased publication in 2013.
Assessment rolls

Assessment rolls available at the Cambridge Archives include:

  • Galt, 1854 to 1901 (fiche) and 1901 to 1972 (paper)

  • Preston, 1854 to 1896 (fiche) and 1901 to 1972 (paper)

  • Hespeler, 1859 to 1897 (fiche) and 1867 to 1972 (paper)

Census records

View the following census records available at the Cambridge Archives:

  • 1841: Dumfries Township (Heads of Households; indexed for each)
  • 1851: Galt and Preston (indexed for each individual)
  • 1861: Galt, Preston and Hespeler (indexed for each individual)
  • 1871: Galt, Preston and Hespeler (indexed for each individual)
  • 1881: Galt, Preston and Hespeler (indexed for each individual)
  • 1891: Galt, Preston and Hespeler (indexed for each individual)
  • 1901: Galt, Preston and Hespeler (indexed for each individual)

Historical Maps

These are just some of the years available to view at the Cambridge Archives:

  • Galt: 1851, 1867, 1885, 1910, 1941
  • Preston: 1859, 1910, 1939, 1950
  • Hespeler: 1885, 1917, 1953
  • Waterloo County: 1861
Vital statistics

The Cambridge Archives also has the following vital statistics available:


  • Births, 1895 to 1917
  • Marriages, 1895 to 1932
  • Deaths, 1895 to 1942


  • Births, 1895 to 1917
  • Marriages, 1895 to 1932
  • Deaths, 1895 to 1942


  • Births, 1875 to 1917
  • Marriages, 1875 to 1932
  • Deaths, 1875 to 1942
Tweedsmuir Histories
At the Cambridge Archives we have Tweedsmuir Histories for Hespeler, Preston, South Waterloo (includes Galt) and Little's Corners.

Looking for newspaper archives? We have newspaper archives for the following areas:

Please note that some editions are missing.  For specific editions, feel free to contact us.



  • Weeklies (1857 to 1920)
  • Dailies (1902 to 1972)
  • Obituaries are up to date and are clipped and indexed weekly

Dumfries Reformer (later Galt Reformer)

  • 1868 to 1896 (microfilm)
  • Limited indexing of obituaries
  • Dumfries Reformer Notices of Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1853 to 1959


  • 1912-1931 (microfilm)
  • 1912-1943 (paper - very fragile)
  • Obituaries are indexed.


  • 1948 to 1969
  • Births indexed, 1950 to 1957
  • Obituaries indexed, 1948 to 1955


  • 1970 to 1972


  • 1902 to 1930 (microfilm)
  • 1935 to 1969 (paper)
  • Obituaries indexed


  • 1973 to 2002, with indexed obituary clippings to date


  • 1972 to date
  • Obituaries not indexed
  • Miscellaneous biographical files listed alphabetically
Grace Russ Scrapbooks
The Grace Russ Scrapbooks contain newspaper articles related to local individuals who served in the Second World War (completely indexed from 1939 to 1945).
Miscellaneous local history publications

There are a variety of publications related to local history available at the Cambridge Archives. Some publications have their own indexes and others have had an index created for them. Many of these indexes include information on individuals and families. Publications we have created indexes for include:

  • Jubilee Souvenir of Galt 1897

  • Historical Reminiscences of Galt - Hugh Cant 1915

  • Picturesque and Industrial Galt 1901

  • Strikingly Beautiful and Highly Industrial Grand River Valley

  • History of Old Galt - R.S. Hamilton

  • Pioneers of Beverly and First Church of Beverly

  • Hespeler Historical Booklets - Winfield Brewster

  • Galt Centennial and Old Home Week Souvenir 1927

  • Hespeler Souvenir of a Factory Town 1922

Family genealogies

Family genealogies available at the Cambridge Archives include:

  • The Stock Family
  • The Family of Alexander Kerr
  • The Roseburgh Family Story
  • Ancestors and Descendants of Sidrick Read
  • Ancestors and Descendants of Lord Robert Rutherford
  • The Willard Family of Beverly Township
  • From Norway to Canada - Olaf and Caroline Pederson
  • The Dryden Family (includes updates to 1994)
  • The Family of Patrick Spain
  • The Cornell Family of Ontario
  • The Drydens - From Roxburgh to Dumfries
  • The Stager Family
  • Genealogy of the Wilkins Family of New England
  • The History of the Currie Family
  • History of the Grieve Family
  • The Story of the Shantz Family