Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives

Parallel form(s) of name

    Other form(s) of name


      • Municipal

      Contact area

      Laurie Dougherty



      Street address

      21b Madawaska Street





      Country name


      Postal code

      K7S 1R6


      (613) 623-0001




      Description area


      Geographical and cultural context

      Mandates/Sources of authority

      The Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives is a multi-municipal institution established by local volunteers as a non-profit, charitable organization, serving the citizens of the Town of Arnprior and MacNab-Braeside Township. The Archives was established to acquire, preserve and make accessible important historical documents pertaining to the history of the area.

      Administrative structure

      Records management and collecting policies



      Our holdings contain many types of archival material, relating to the history of Arnprior and McNab/Braeside and the surrounding area. Highlights include:

      • Lumbering Era This area was part of the once-flourishing timber and logging industry in the Ottawa Valley. There are collections on the Gillies Brothers of Braeside, the McLachlin Brothers of Arnprior, and the Stewart Family of Waba, as well as other private donations of journals, photographs, and other items.

      • Renfrew County Land Records The original land registry documents from about 1850-1970 for the entire Renfrew County are housed here. Besides the registry books, there are individual instruments for land transfers, such as deeds, quit claims, and wills.

      • Photographic The Archives holds thousands of photos and negatives. Besides those found in a number of collections, there are two collections of special interest.

      · Handford Studio Collection – Contains thousands of negatives from their Renfrew portrait studio dating from just before 1900 to the 1970s. Many are the early glass plate negatives. All of the nitrate negatives and some of the other negatives have been scanned and are available for viewing in the online search.

      · Charles Macnamara Collection - An amateur local field naturalist, photographer, and scientist, this collection contains hundreds of negatives and photos, as well as his papers. Visit the Virtual Museum for a more in-depth look at this fascinating gentleman.

      • Cartographic (Maps and Plans) Over 400 maps have been described at the item level. They include early maps of Arnprior, McNab Township, and area. There are also early Fire Insurance Plans for Arnprior, Braeside and other valley towns. In the online search, choose “maps” as the “Type of Material.”

      • Other

      • Municipal records, including assessment and collectors’ rolls

      • Documents from the local museum

      • Microfilmed local newspapers

      • Community organization records, including local Women’s Institutes’ Tweedsmuir Community Histories

      • Private donations, including family histories and business records

      • Research files from Peter Hessel, local historian and author. Includes a transcription of German Passenger Lists.

      • Local census and cemetery records

      Finding aids, guides and publications

      Online finding aids can be found at:

      1. The Early Commercial Photographers of Lanark and Renfrew Countries, Ontario 1850-1925 by Patrick & Judi Wohler.
      2. Abstracts of births, Marriages and deaths from Arnprior newspapers (CD)
      3. Index to Renfrew County Probated Wills 1878-1969 (CD)
      4. Arnprior Area Death Notices 2000-2007 (CD) 5. Family Historian articles by Patrick Wohler (CD)

      Access area

      Opening times

      Monday to Friday 1.00-3.30. Saturday by appointment only.

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