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Genealogy is used in this Wiki article and in the FamilySearch Catalog to describe a variety of family information gathered by individuals, other researchers, societies, or archives. These records may include indexes, pedigree charts, compiled information on families, correspondence, ancestor lists, research exchange files, record abstracts, and collections of original or copied documents. These can be excellent sources that can save you valuable time, but because they are compiled from other sources, they must be carefully evaluated for accuracy.
Major Databases and Collections
The Family History Library has several sources that contain previous research or can lead you to others who are interested in sharing family information. These sources include:
FamilySearch™ is a powerful computer system that simplifies family history work. FamilySearch http://www.familysearch.org is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at over 3,000 Latter-day Saint Family History Centers in the United States, Canada, and a number of other countries.
When the name of an ancestor is typed at the keyboard, FamilySearch™ quickly searches through millions of names and finds any that match. It matches last names that are spelled differently but sound the same. It can guide users from the matches they find to full screens of information: dates and places of birth, marriage, and death; and names of parents, children, and spouses.
The FamilySearch™ files useful for Canadian research are described below.
This file contains family history information linked in family groups and pedigrees that has been contributed since 1979. Its millions of records include many from Canada. It can print pedigree charts, family group records, and individual summary sheets for any person in the file. For more information, see Using Ancestral File (34113). Submissions are no longer accepted for the Ancestral File.
For information contact:
Ancestral File Operations Unit
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400
This is an automated edition of the Family History Library’s catalog. The automated edition simplifies use of the catalog. Using the catalog on FamilySearch™, patrons may easily find information about the library’s holdings and microfilm call numbers.
The Surname Search of the FamilySearch Catalog lists over 130,000 surnames found in family histories, genealogies, and pedigrees. When using the Surname Search on compact disc, press the F6 key to add key words or phrases that limit the scope of the search. The computer will find descriptions in which both the surname and the key words appear. This is especially helpful for narrowing searches on a common surname like Smith. To choose key words, use the names of provinces where the family lived or prominent maiden surnames in the family.
International Genealogical Index.
The index provides names and vital information for over 700,000 deceased persons who lived in Canada. This valuable research tool lists birth, christening, or marriage dates. The index for Canada includes names extracted from parish registers by volunteers and names submitted by other researchers. The International Genealogical Index for Canada is on compact disc as part of FamilySearch™. It is included in the North America region. About half the entries are available on microfiche. If you are using the microfiche edition, you need to know which province to search. If you are using the compact disc edition, however, the computer will search all of North America for any name.
Other files will be added to FamilySearch™ as they become available.
Other Genealogical Indexes
Many provincial archives and genealogical societies have prepared surname indexes of various records. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of genealogical indexes for some provinces and portions of provinces. See the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under headings such as:
CANADA - GENEALOGY - INDEXES
[PROVINCE] - GENEALOGY - INDEXES
A private, for-profit genealogical research company has published a series of regional indexes to genealogical information in published Canadian sources, most of which are histories and directories dating from the middle and late 1800s. The indexes include the following information:
- Given names
- Type of event (birth, marriage, death, and so forth)
- Year of the event
- Sometimes an abbreviated place-name
- A code that represents the source of the information (this code often includes a page number)
- Each volume has a gazetteer of place-names and an appendix that provides bibliographic information about most sources.
The regional indexes include:
Elliott, Noel Montgomery, ed. The Atlantic Canadians 1600–1900: An Alphabetized Directory of the People, Places, and Vital Dates. 3 vols. Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1994. (Family History Library book 971.5 D22a.) This book indexes over 500,000 names from various sources for the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
Elliott, Noel Montgomery, ed. The French Canadians 1600–1900: An Alphabetized Directory of the People, Places, and Vital Dates. 3 vols. Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1992. (Family History Library book 971 D22f.) This book includes English-speaking and French Canadians from Quebec and French Canadians from other provinces. It lists 468,000 people alphabetically, indexes some genealogical dictionaries for early Quebec, and indexes some directories for later times.
Elliott, Noel Montgomery, ed. The Central Canadians 1600–1900: An Alphabetized Directory of the People, Places, and Vital Dates. 3 vols. Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1994. (Family History Library book 971 D22cc.) This book indexes over 500,000 names found in 211 sources for Ontario and 8 sources for Manitoba.
Elliott, Noel Montgomery, ed. The Western Canadians 1600–1900: An Alphabetized Directory of the People, Places, and Vital Dates. 3 vols. Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1994. (Family History Library book 971 D22w.) This book indexes about 300,000 names from various sources for the provinces and territories of Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and Yukon (also includes Alaska).
Information from all the above series has been combined on one compact disc as:
Canadian Genealogy Index 1600s–1900s, from the Genealogical Research Library. Novato, Calif.: Brøderbund Software Inc., 1996. (Family History Library compact disc No. 9, Part 118; computer number 793135.) This compact disc gives dates and places for about two million names. It also includes the source of the information.
Drouin Collection of French Canadian records 1621-1967
This collection has over 15 million entries for French Canadian genealogical and vital records. It includes Quebec notarial, vital, and church records, Acadian Catholic records, Ontario French Catholic records, early French Catholic records in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Wisconsin.
That's My Family
Search engine for information on Canadian ancestors across multiple genealogy databases hosted by federal, provincial, and territorial archives and libraries.
Genealogical Dictionaries and Collections
The Family History Library has some dictionaries and collections of genealogical material for Canadian families, especially those of French origin. An example is:
Dennisen, Christian. Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region, 1701–1936. Ed. Harold F. Powell. 2 vols. Detroit, Mich.: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1987. (Family History Library book 977.43 D2d 1987.) This book includes pedigrees and family groups for hundreds of families on both the Ontario and Michigan sides of the river. It is arranged alphabetically and chronologically by the husband’s surname. It begins with the first immigrants to French Canada in the 1600s and covers their descendants in Michigan to as late as the early 1900s. The information provided includes the date and place of birth for the husband and wife, their marriage date, and their children’s names and christening dates. An index at the end of volume 2 lists wives’ and parents’ names and refers to some members of the clergy and military.
Additional genealogical dictionaries and collections are listed in the Research Wiki articles for the provinces.
Find additional genealogical collections in the FamilySearch Catalog under:
CANADA - GENEALOGY
[PROVINCE] - GENEALOGY
[PROVINCE], [COUNTY] - GENEALOGY
[PROVINCE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - GENEALOGY
Another source is Tracing Family History: Canada Immigration and Citizenship Genealogy Guide. It contains links to other resources.
Many Canadian families have produced histories or newsletters that have genealogical information, biographies, photographs, and other excellent information. These usually cover several generations of the family.
The Family History Library has many published Canadian family histories and newsletters. See the FamilySearch Catalog, Surname section. This lists only the main surnames discussed in each family history.
Many published Canadian family histories are listed in the following works:
Mennie-de Varennes, Kathleen. Bibliographie annotée d’ouvrages généalogiques au Canada/Annotated Bibliography of Genealogical Works in Canada. Text in French and English. 6 vols. Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1986–87. (Family History Library book 971 D23v.) This book lists sources of genealogical value found in selected libraries and archives across Canada and the northern United States. Its emphasis appears to be on French- and English-Canadian families in French-speaking areas. Volume 1 includes an author-title section of 6,000 entries listing books and periodical articles published through 1980, plus manuscripts dealing with Canadian families. It sometimes includes the publisher’s name, the date and place of publication, and the name of a library that has a copy. Volume 1 also has an index of parishes with 1,605 entries arranged alphabetically by place-name, which lists published print and microfilmed Canadian church records and the archives holding them. Volumes 2 through 6 are an alphabetical list of more than 17,000 family names, with cross-references to the sources listed in volume 1, where information about those families may be found.
Early Canadiana Research Collection. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM), 1979–. (Not available at the Family History Library.) This set of microfiche contains several thousand titles of histories, directories, periodicals, political documents, and government publications, most of which date from before 1900. The National Library of Canada, the Library of Congress, and a few other large libraries in Canada and the United States have the full set of this collection. Selected titles from this set are listed in:
Gilchrist, J. Brian, and Clifford Duxbury Collier. Genealogy and Local History to 1900=Généalogie et histoire locale d’avant 1900. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM), 1995. (Family History Library book 971 D23g.) This book lists more than 6,000 titles relating to genealogy, family history, and local history. It also lists some directories and voters lists. It includes surname, place-name, and subject indexes. You can order microfiche versions of individual titles listed in this book from the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM). See Canada Directories for the institute’s address.
Local histories often include family histories. See Canada History.
Writing and Sharing Your Family History
Sharing your own family history is valuable for several reasons:
- It helps you see gaps in your own research and raises opportunities to find new information.
- It helps other researchers progress in researching ancestors you share in common.
- It draws other researchers to you who already have information about your family that you do not yet possess.
- It draws together researchers with common interests, sparking collaboration opportunities. For instance, researchers in various localities might choose to do lookups for each other in remote repositories. Your readers may also share photos of your ancestors that you have never seen before.
- See also:
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