Local History

Discover collections of local history including photographs, news clippings and other historical documents on our local history site!

Elmira, New Hamburg, and Ayr branches host our local history collections which are available during branch hours.

Unfortunately, Region of Waterloo Library (RWL) cannot provide in-depth long-distance telephone, written or email research assistance. Nor can we extract copies of entries from our microfilmed collection.

Library staff will acknowledge research requests within one business day. Staff may also suggest local historians or organizations that charge for their services.

The Region of Waterloo Library offers the following resources that may assist you with your local history research.

 Learn more about microfilm and microfiche
Region of Waterloo Library provides microfilm and microfiche collections at the Ayr and Elmira branches.

Collections Available

Elmira Microfilm and Microfiche Collection

  • Local newspapers (1873 - current)
  • Indexes to Births, Marriages and Deaths (1869 - 1934)
  • Census information (1861 - 1951)
  • Civil Registers, Council Proceedings and Tweedsmuir Histories

Ayr Microfilm Collection

  • Local Newspapers (1873 to 2008)


Patrons can view microfilm from Region of Waterloo Library’s collection, or from the Archives of Ontario, at the Region of Waterloo Archives located in Kitchener, or at the Sir Adam Beck Archives located in Baden. First, contact your local library branch to request the microfilm that you require. The library will arrange for transportation of the microfilm to the Archives of choice and will contact you when the microfilm is available to view.

Local History Site Search Tips

Once on the local history home page click one of the nine categories available: Ayr Tweedsmuir, Central Dumfries Tweedsmuir, Local Buildings, Family History, Maps, Photos, Local History, Library History, and Community Groups.

To refine the search, click the Sort By dropdown menu and select Title.

All documents in the website have been scanned with their geographical location listed first. For example, Ayr Travel Club or North Dumfries 1881 Map.

Searches can also be done via the Region of Waterloo Library catalogue type Local History Materials in the search field.

Region of Waterloo Archives: New Collaboration

Resources from the Region of Waterloo Archives can now be found in the Region of Waterloo Library catalogue!

Search using the words Region of Waterloo Archives reference materials to see everything that is available. Email Archives or call 519-575-4400 to find out more about how you can access these resources.

Other Local History Resources

Do you have local history images and or documents that you would like us to consider for our digital collection? If so, visit any branch to pick up the digital use agreement form. Once completed, return the form to any branch for consideration by the Manager, Library Services

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