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It is important to learn the history of the ethnic, racial, and religious groups your ancestors belonged to. You might, for example, study a history of the Acadian French in the Maritime Provinces or the Germans from Russia in Saskatchewan. This historical background can help you identify where your ancestors lived and when they lived there, where they migrated, the types of records they might be listed in, and other helpful family history information.
Canadian ethnic groups are broadly divided among:
Native peoples (American Indians and Inuit or Eskimos).
Colonizers (the French and the British).
Later immigrant groups.
There are unique records for most minorities in Canada, including histories, newspapers, and periodicals. Many newspapers and magazines were published in languages other than English or French, but only a few still survive. They are listed in:
Canadian Almanac and Directory. Toronto: Canadian Almanac and Directory Publishing Co., annual. (FHL book 971 E4ca 2.)
Canadian Sourcebook. Don Mills, Ont.: Southam Inc., annual. (FHL book 971 B5c.) Editions before 1998 were called:
Corpus Almanac & Canadian Sourcebook. Don Mills, Ont.: Corpus Information Services, annual. (FHL book 971 B5c.)
Some ethnic groups also have their own religious organizations, such as the Ukrainian Orthodox and Roumanian Orthodox churches. Contact appropriate ethnic organizations for further information.
Various local and national societies have been organized to gather, preserve, and share the cultural contributions and histories of many groups. One example is:
CANADIAN ETHNIC STUDIES ASSOCIATION
c/o The Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies
St. Andrews College, The University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2
Similar associations are listed in
Associations Canada: An Encyclopedic Directory. Toronto: Canadian Almanac and Directory Publishing Co., annual. (FHL book 971 C44a.)
Records of many ethnic groups and minorities are in the Ethnic Archives, Manuscript Division, National Archives of Canada. They are publishing a series of "ethnocultural guides" to their collections, including:
Tapper, Lawrence F. Archival Sources for the Study of Canadian Jewry. 2d ed. Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1987. (FHL book 971 F23n.)
Canadian museums and archives with information on individual groups are listed in:
The Official Directory of Canadian Museums and Related Institutions, 1987–1988. Ottawa: Canadian Museums Association, 1987. (FHL book 971 J54dc.)
Directory of Canadian Archives. 5th ed. Ottawa: Association of Canadian Archivists, 1990. (FHL book 971 J54d 1990.)
The Family History Library collects records of ethnic groups and minorities, especially published histories. See the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
CANADA - COLONIZATION CANADA - MINORITIES [PROVINCE] - MINORITIES
See the catalog’s Subject section under the name of the minority, such as ACADIANS, BLACKS, AFRO-AMERICANS, JEWS, and QUAKERS.
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