Sparks Family Search
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The Collection

This website is dedicated to creating and sharing the genealogy records of the Sparks family of Carleton and surrounding counties in Ontario and Quebec.

The Sparks family heritage is rooted in the history of England and Ireland. A published source asserts that the Sparks name comes from the Old English term "sparrowhawk". Another source says the Sparks surname is derived from old Norse "sparkr or spraek" and adopted into Olde English in the Middle Ages. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the old English versions gradually morphed into Spark and its West Country patronymic forms Sparke, Sparkes and Sparks.

John Sparke, born about 1500 and living in Devon County, England, is the earliest known Sparks ancestor. Nicholas Sparke, a fifth generation descendant of John, also a native of Devon County, is the legendary “founder of the Irish branch”, as told in Herbert Todd’s 1913 narrative of prominent pioneering Canadians. Joining the British colonization of Ireland, Nicholas's grandson Samuel Sparke chose to move with his family from Devon County to County Wexford, Ireland, most likely to take possession of leased-land awarded to his grandfather Nicholas for his military service. A fourth generation grandson of Samuel, Nicholas Sparks of Bytown, Upper Canada, and for whom Ottawa's Sparks Street was named, journeyed from England in 1816 and settling as a prominent landholder and timberer in early 19th-century Carleton County, Upper Canada.

This website provides a collection of searchable genealogical records for the antecedents, descendants, siblings and cousins of Nicholas Sparks of Bytown. An extensive genealogical collection for Nicholas, his younger brother George Sparks of Bells Corners and his second cousin George Sparks of Gloucester are credited to the research work of family historians Naomi Heydon, Doris Hope, Julia Hoffman, website author Wayne Lester, and many other Sparks family member contributors.

Sources are cited whenever possible, however some references may be missing or inaccurate, leaving some doubt as to the reliability of a record. For new additions and changes, a proof standard is incorporated assigning a "level of reliability" to recorded data.

There will always be some undiscovered family member, fact or story. All contributions of local historical interest related to the Sparks family are welcome, such as old vintage photographs, published and online sources, etc., with acknowledgment and credit given to submitters. Simply click the "Contact Us" link, submit your comments, and we can exchange emails to arrange for submissions. All submissions will be answered.

Enjoy searching for your Sparks relatives and ancestors.

K. Wayne Lester
Sparks Family Researcher and Site Author


Ancestral Search - Search for your Sparks family ancestors. If you can't find your ancestors and wish to add them to the collection, simply click on the "Contact Us" link below and send us a request.

Searchable Surnames - View top 30 listed surnames stored in the database.

Most Wanted - There are unsolved mysteries about our ancestors. Can you help?

What's New - View the latest updates made to this site.

Updates to LOOKING BACK - View updates to Naomi Slater Heydon's publication LOOKING BACK courtesy of Naomi's daughter Julia Hoffman: Drummond, Sparks (Gloucester), Sparks (Bells Corners), Greene, Hill, Nicholas Sparks (Bytown), Olmstead, Pinhey, Ross, Slater, Stewart, Tasker, Tomlinson and Townley.

Publications - View articles and publications written by Sparks family historians.

Web Links of Interest - Browse selected web links describing the life of Nicholas Sparks as well as some of Ottawa's early history.

Registration and Privacy Policy

Access to the website is free, however, a login username and password is required to view website pages. When registering, please indicate your interest and connection to the Sparks family, otherwise your request will be declined.

Once registered, users are asked to review the terms and conditions agreement before using the site to ensure the privacy policy, registration process, site privileges and copyright conditions are understood and respected. Use of the site implies that users have accepted and comply with the terms and conditions listed.

On the Lighter Side

Lighter Side

Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Latest News
September 2019
Suddenly, in hospital, on September 2, 2019, John Denzil Sparks passed away in his 100th year as the oldest known living member of Ottawa's Sparks family. Denzil is the brother of the late George Lloyd Sparks who passed in July 2018.

August 2019
We regretfully announce the passing of devoted Sparks family historian Doris Grierson Hope on 24 Aug 2019 at the age of 96. The website author owes a debt of gratitude to Doris's dedicated genealogical research into the family connections of her great-great-grandparents George Sparks and Letitia Caldwell of Bells Corners. George Sparks of Bell Corners is the youngest brother of Bytown pioneer Nicholas Sparks. Patrick Duffy's Ottawa Citizen article pays homage to Doris's colourful active life.

October 2018
The Sparks website now records ancestry DNA testing. Sharing test results helps to uncover the truth about family legends, trace surname variants, discover new relatives, and find ancestral geographic regions.

July 2018
It is with great sadness we report the passing of George Lloyd Sparks on July 16, 2018 at the Glebe Centre in Ottawa. George was in his 102nd year as the oldest known living member of Ottawa's Sparks family.

June 2018
Shirley Mancino is searching for her missing Sparks-Gibson connections to the Sparks of Ottawa. An abstract of her family history describes Irish family roots as well as connections in Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Pennsylvania. Click to view Shirley's family tree. Please contact us if you have any knowledge of the Sparks-Gibson connection to their Ottawa Sparks cousins.

March 2018
Sparks family historian Doris Hope celebrated her 95th birthday with friends and family March 29, 2016 at the Chartwell Stillwater Creek retirement home in Bell Corners.

February 2018
Recently discovered genealogical records for Sparks lineage in England added.

May 2017
From years of neglect, an aging tree has shifted sections of iron fencing surrounding the Nicholas Sparks gravesite in St. James Anglican Church Cemetery, Gatineau, Quebec. Descendants prompted cemetery caretakers to make repairs.

January 2017
George Lloyd Sparks celebrated his 100th birthday with friends and family January 28th, 2017 at the RA Centre. An Ottawa Citizen article by Bruce Deachman reminices about George's life.

October 2016
Updates to LOOKING BACK genealogical charts added courtesy of Julia Hoffman.

September 2016
Genealogy updates and photos added to George Sparks of Gloucester Township courtesy of Anne Prowse, Overbrook historian.

June 2016
Sparks cousins and extended family gathered in a family reunion at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa to celebrate the arrival of Nicholas Sparks and other founding families in Bytown.

November 2015
Genealogical records for George Sparks of Gloucester added courtesy of Julia Hoffman.

July 2015
Website released for public access.