Canada Genealogy - Essentials

CANADIAN GENEALOGY - ESSENTIAL LINKS AND BOOKS

Most years, I've published my own list of essential links for Canadian national Genealogy – these will be specially useful for those new to Canadian research but these websites are useful to me every day.

I have decided to update this list (already!) by adding the most useful books too as I feel the best published guides (and indexes) are too often overlooked. From time to time, I'll include more special topic links too.

Canada is a 'federation' of provinces and territories; specific types of records are held either by national, provincial or local governments, or by private or non-profit bodies. When I was a girl, we had to know the 'British North America Act' of 1867 which established Canada, its levels of government and their responsibilities (as of 1982, the Constitution Act). This has stood me in good stead since I got into history in 1958! Official military and census records are national Canadian records, for example. Vital statistics are provincial. (There are always some exceptions, and for any grey areas, Canadians -those my age- have always called for a Royal Commission. Don't worry, this is a Canadian joke!)

Borders have changed a bit. Canada didn't become officially Canada till 1867 and that Canada didn't include British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Newfoundland and Labrador. These were then either British colonies or for most of the prairies and part of Ontario, lands controlled by the Hudson's Bay Co.  See the Canadian Geographic's historical Maps of Canada for a look at 1867 Canada. You will find that there are many British records relating to Canada and parts of it. Most of those with genealogical information have been copied and are available at least on film in Canadian archives or other large repositories. But, for example, if you are looking for a World War I pilot, you may need to look at both Canadian and British records.

For information specific to British Columbia, Canada, be sure to see the British Columbia Genealogical Society's website: http://www.bcgs.ca  (I'm co-webmistress over there.) You will see below that I've included here some BCGS guides I've written for Canadian research. Watch for more of these to be added.

As I often say, each of these resources is tried and true, although one or two may sometimes be trying. If it's been a while since you've looked at Canada, you'll notice some changes, especially at Library and Archives Canada. Most changes there are cosmetic, but persevere, and you will find new resources there. Many Canadian genealogy and history websites will be available in both French and English.

Notice that almost all are free! Let’s do our best to keep it that way.

CANADAGENEALOGY LINKS - ESSENTIALS

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA (LAC): http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/

Of special interest at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) –

GENEALOGY AND FAMILY HISTORY SECTION (previously known as the Canadian Genealogy Centre). Specialized access to genealogical indexes, images and resources, including digitized census and passenger lists, land records, etc., and guides to searching for both topics and places. (Note - not all databases are included in the Ancestors Search.) LAC is now having some records digitized 'on demand', for example, Border records. And there are a number of microfilmed records that are very simply microfilmed as is. These are, as yet, unindexed.  Canada's World War I attestation papers for the military, nurses and chaplains are available on-line. These serve as an index to the greater collection of World War I service files which unfortunately LAC is now having digitized so many are unavailable currently even at the Archives: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/index-e.html

SEARCH PAGE – 'search all' or search for library items or archival material only, or for images – or try the Ancestors search, but remember this includes only a small number of the collections: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac-bac/search-recherche/all-tout.php?Language=eng

AMICUS catalogue search - published materials held at Library and Archives Canada and at over 1300 libraries across Canada. Click the Search button; you do not need a password: http://amicus.collectionscanada.gc.ca/aaweb/aalogine.htm 

 Note - Newfoundland and Labrador (united in 1927) did not become part of Canada till 1949. LAC does have some records for this province, but most are held by the provincial government. Since some of the Labrador borders were disputed, you may find records relating to Labrador in Quebec. See the Newfoundland and Labrador Archives, known as The Rooms:  http://www.therooms.ca/archives and the free genealogy website, Newfoundland Grand Banks: http://ngb.chebucto.org/

Note - Now you can comment on LAC’s services. Do you love what’s available on-line at the site or on Flickr maybe? Is there another set of records you think should be digitized? Or is something missing that used to be easily accessible? Let them know.

GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH LIBRARY (GRL), Now the GLOBAL RESEARCH LIBRARY - and free till 1 December 2016. . An unsung Canadian resource, and now a resource for worldwide genealogy. When I found one of my Whites somewhere new by using this website, I was impressed for life. Indexes to directories, census, etc. “16 million ancestors”. (This is the updated Internet version of the books, the “Western Canadians”, 'Central, Atlantic and French Canadians', compiled by Noel Montgomery Elliot.)  Personal $ subscription fee; for details. New URL: http://www.edu.global/ 

AUTOMATED GENEALOGY.
Name and place indexes and links to census page images at LAC – for the 1851/52, 1901, 1911 Canadian censuses; also to the 1851 New Brunswick census and to the 1906 Prairie census. All indexed by volunteers: http://www.automatedgenealogy.com/

FAMILYSEARCH.
Canadian census indexes 1851-1901, prairie censuses 1906/1916, earlier censuses, unindexed Merchant Marine agreements 1890-1920, Mounted Police obits 1876-2007 and many provincial databases. Canadian national and provincial research guides in the wiki. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: http://www.familysearch.org Also check out the FamilySearch research pages for Canada and for Canadian First Nations on Facebook. Canada - https://www.facebook.com/groups/855993304493098/  and Canada First Nations: https://www.facebook.com/CanadaFirstNationsGenealogy

CANADIAN PROVINCIAL ARCHIVES – A WEB GUIDE, from the British Columbia Genealogical Society: http://www.bcgs.ca/?p=2786

CANADIAN PROVINCIAL GENEALOGICAL PUBLICATIONS, from the British Columbia Genealogical Society: http://www.bcgs.ca/?page_id=1395

ANCESTRY.COM / ANCESTRY.CA / ANCESTRY LIBRARY EDITION. Even when information is free elsewhere, Ancestry is worth looking at as its searches are often more extensive and flexible than others and the family trees may provide useful clues.
And because Library and Archives Canada has chosen to enter into certain exclusive agreements with Ancestry, you may find there indexes and images unavailable elsewhere. Canadian census indexes with links to record images at LAC - 1851/52, 1901, 1911, also immigration and passenger list indexes, prairie census 1906/1916, 20th century directories, Canadian soldiers, nurses and chaplains of World War I, indexes of Loyalist claimants and 1812 soldiers, etc.
An important source of more recent information on Canadians is the Canada, Voters index (1935-1980).                
$ subscriptions or use Ancestry Library Edition at a participating library or Family History Centre: See below. http://www.ancestry.com/

FINDMYPAST. Find My Past promised exciting Canadian content. So far, it's not much and not so exciting. We don't even seem to rate a category. However, it you are a subscriberas I am the content there will be useful. Now FindMyPast has the 1901 and 1911 censuses and Canadian cemeteries are included in the Billion Graves website search there.The newspaper collection does include a number of Canadian papers (from NewspaperArchive, I believe.)
The most interesting content for many will be in the digital books from the ArchiveCD Books Canada collection - all searchable. 
Don't forget to check PERSI, the Periodical Source Index, for genealogy articles on Canada and articles in Canadian genealogy journals (like The British Columbia Genealogist.). FindMyPast has the most up to date PERSI version.  Check what's available there on the FindMyPast A- Z: a 'Canada' search - http://search.findmypast.com/historical-records?SearchedRecordsetName=Canada&Region=World and a 'Canadian' search - http://search.findmypast.com/historical-records?SearchedRecordsetName=Canadian&Region=World
$ subscription or use FindMyPast at a participating library or Family History Centre. See below.
http://www.findmypast.com/

NOTE Re free Access to Ancestry and FindMyPast- In the Lower Mainland of B.C., go to the BCGS Library in Surrey, Cloverdale Library in Surrey, or to the New Westminster, West Vancouver or Vancouver libraries for free Ancestry Library Edition access or go to a Family History Center in Abbotsford, Surrey or Burnaby for both Ancestry and FindMyPast. Cloverdale Library in Surrey offers FindMyPast too. See FamilySearch above for Center locations.

And, did you know that CLOVERDALE LIBRARY in Surrey, B.C. is the best place in the west for on-site Canadian genealogy research?

You will find much helpful information and advice in the library’s “Canadian Genealogical Resources: A Guide to the Materials held at Cloverdale Library” available on-line free: http://www.surreylibraries.ca/programs-services/4826.aspx

And the Cloverdale Library has free downloadable genealogy guides to Canada's provinces - and to First Nations, Metis and Chinese Canadian research: http://www.surreylibraries.ca/programs-services/4818.aspx 

NANAIMO FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY, PASSENGER LIST INDEXING PROJECT. The society oroject for indexing Canadian Passenger Lists for all ports from 1900 - 1924. Some portions complete: http://nanaimofamilyhistory.ca/passenger-list-project/

CANADA GENWEB PROJECT. Wide array of Canadian and provincial/territorial resources and projects, for instance, the CanadaGenWeb Family Bible transcription project and the Immigrants to Canada list: www.rootsweb.com/~canwgw

Marj's Place, Marj Kohli. See especially the sections on Child Migrants and Home Children (and see below) and also on 19th Century Immigration: http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/~marj

OLIVE TREE GENEALOGY, Lorine McGinnis Schultz. Over 1900 pages of free information, guides and indexes –many of these are for Canada.
Read the index page and the FAQ first. www.olivetreegenealogy.com/index.shtml
Browse the Site Map: http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/sitemap.shtml
See what’s new: http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/freedata.shtml

CANADIAN MILITARY HISTORY GATEWAY. Wide array of resources: http://www.cmhg.gc.ca/

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES OF CANADA. Database search and related information and guides: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/geography/place-names/10786

OUR ROOTS. Digitized Canadian local history books: http://www.ourroots.ca/

CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION (CBC) DIGITAL ARCHIVES. Thousands of historical television and radio clips, search or browse by topics: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/

CANADIAN COUNCIL OF ARCHIVES. Directory of Canadian archives, link to Canadian Archival Information Network (CAIN) portal – includes digitized exhibits and projects: http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/cain.html

ARCHIVESCANADA, Canadian Archival Information Network (CAIN). Library and Archives Canada participates in this national archival database as do many provincial archives. Some descriptions are out of date: http://www.archivescanada.ca/english/index.html

CANADIANA.ORG. Since Library and Archives Canada has chosen to enter into exclusive agreements with this organization, it's important to keep an eye on what's new at Canadiana. Note that so far the records they offer are available on microfilm or microfiche elsewhere. The collection includes many early and older publications and documents from Canada, subscription $ site, but part of the agreements mean some records (films) are being digitized and offered as is, unindexed, at Canadiana for free. : http://www.canadiana.org

And last, but never least,

ROOTSWEB, THE big free site for mailing lists and genealogy resources. Canada wide message boards and mailing lists for queries include CAN-WW1-L for Canadian World War I military research, CAN-CENSUS-L, CANADA-ROOTS-L, AUSTRIAN-CANADIAN-L, Irish-Canadian-L: http://www.rootsweb.com/

And for many more of the best Canadian links for many topics and places, see

CANGENEALOGY. Dave Obee’s website for Canadian links. Browse by region and by subject: http://www.cangenealogy.com/


THE BASIC BOOKS FOR CANADIAN GENEALOGY

Finding Your Ancestors: A Beginners' Guide by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee (2007).

Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census by Dave Obee (2012).

Destination Canada: A Guide to 20th Century Immigration Records by Dave Obee (2010) - on passenger/immigration records.


Federal Voters Lists in Western Canada 1935-1979 by Dave Obee. Download this book for free at DaveObee.com: http://www.daveobee.com/books.htm

Canadians at War 1914-1919, A Research Guide to World War One Service Records by Glenn Wright (2010).

Records of The Federal Department Of Indian Affairs At The National Archives Of Canada by Bill Russell (2005).

Genealogy to Go! Migration Canada and the United States (2012) by Elizabeth LaPointe. Avaible from the BCGS Boutique or from Elizabeth LaPointe herself.



SPECIAL TOPICS below - Canadian Home Children, Royal Visits to Canada, Western Canada - Land.

CANADIAN ‘HOME CHILDREN’ – From 1869 to 1948, thousands and thousands of children were sent to live and usually, to work, in Canada from Britain.

British Home Children in Canada: http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com

Home Children 1869-1932 - databases and information. Updated Nov. 2015.  Library and Archives Canada: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/Pages/home-children.aspx 

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association (Facebook group):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Britishhomechildren/?fref=ts

Families of British Home Children / British Child Migrants (Facebook group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/60555734110/

Home Children, British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO): http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=4




ROYAL VISITS TO CANADA

 The Crown in Canada, including royal visits since 1953: http://canadiancrown.gc.ca/eng/1331825668647/1331825371752

The Official Website of the British Monarchy, royal visits to Canada: http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchAndCommonwealth/Canada/Royalvisits.aspx

The Royal Visit, ONFB,1939 (film, 90 min.) National Film Board of Canada: http://www.nfb.ca/film/royal_visit/

The Story of the Canadian Royal Train of 1939, timeline,ThemeTrains.com: http://www.themetrains.com/royal-train-timeline.htm

Their Majesties in Canada: The 1939 Royal Tour, radio clips, etc. CBC Digital Archives: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/society/the-monarchy/their-majesties-in-canada-the-1939-royal-tour/topic---their-majesties-in-canada-the-1939-royal-tour.html  

Behind the Diary [of William Lyon McKenzie King], Politics, Themes, and Events from King's Life -
The Royal Tour of 1939 [archived pages at Library and Archives Canada]: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/king/023011-1070.06-e.html

The British Royal Visit [to the USA], June 7-12, 1939, text, photos and film, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/aboutfdr/royalvisit.html




WESTERN CANADA - LAND 

A few beginning links to information and indexes for Western Canadian land grants, homesteading and CPR land sales. 

**See also the Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and British Columbia Genealogical Societies's websites. 

Finding Aid: Prairie Land Records, Dave Obee: http://www.daveobee.com/columns/dominion.htm


Western Land Grants 1870-1930, Library and Archives Canada: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/western-land-grants/001007-100.01-e.php

Alberta Genealogical Society, Index to Homestead Records, 1870-1930: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/western-land-grants/001007-100.01-e.php

Saskatchewan Land Records, Index, Saskatchewan Archives Board: http://www.saskarchives.com/collections/land-records

History of Agriculture in Manitoba, Manitoba, Agricultural Hall of Fame: http://www.manitobaaghalloffame.com/history2.php

Grain Elevators in Canada, 1911-1998, Peel's Praire Provinces:  http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/geic.html

Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Land Sales Index, Glenbow Museum: http://ww2.glenbow.org/search/archivesCPRSearch.aspx

Quick Guide to Land Records, British Columbia Archives (.pdf):  http://www.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/general/guides/Land_Records_quick_guide.pdf

Pre-emption and Homestead Claims, British Columbia Archives (.pdf): http://www.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/general/guides/preemptions-homesteads_research_guide.pdf

British Columbia Historic Crown Grant search: https://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/rd/html/index.html

Métis LAND RECORDS

**See also the BCGS MANITOBA research links: http://www.bcgs.ca/?p=2991


Métis Scrip Records, Library & Archives canada: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/metis-scrip/index-e.html

The Historiography of Métis Land Dispersal, 1870-1890 http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/30/metislanddispersal.shtml

BOOKS

See also Back to the Land: A Genealogical Guide to Finding Farms on the Canadian Prairies by Dave Obee (2001).

MAPS

Online-Historical Map Digitization Project:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canmaps

Peel's Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta: http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/maps

Historical Maps of Prairie Provinces, University of Alabama Map Library: http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/canada/prairie.html

Glenbow Museum map collection, many descriptions, not all on-line: http://ww2.glenbow.org/search/libraryMapSearch.aspx


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