Canada Histories of Towns, Counties, and Provinces
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What You Are Looking For
- 3 Steps
- 3.1 Step 1. Determine where your ancestor lived.
- 3.2 Step 2. Find and acquire histories of that area.
- 3.3 Step 3. Search the index for your ancestor's name.
- 3.4 Step 4. Search the history for information about your ancestor.
- 3.5 Step 5. Copy the information from the history.
- 3.6 Step 6. Analyze the information you found.
- 4 Tips
Histories may be written about towns, cities, counties, provinces, and Canada. They often include biographies of people and families in the area.
What You Are Looking For
The information you find varies from record to record. These records may include:
- The name of an ancestor.
- Dates and places of birth, marriage, and death.
- Names of parents.
- Names of spouse and children.
- Biographical information.
These 6 steps may help you find information in histories.
Step 1. Determine where your ancestor lived.
Check the following to find a place where your ancestor lived:
- Family records (histories, pedigree charts, family group sheets, and so on).
- Family histories.
For additional ways to find where your ancestor lived, see How to Locate Your Ancestor in Canada.
Step 2. Find and acquire histories of that area.
For titles of records for the area, search the catalogs or listings of the following:
- The Internet
- Family History Centers and the Family History Library
- Wiki articles about history for each province (see Tip 1)
- Archives and libraries
- Genealogical and historical societies
Usually you should look for a town history first because you are more likely to find prominent and nonprominent individuals mentioned in town histories. Provincial histories usually only mention prominent people of the province.
If you do not find a town history, see Tip 2.
Step 3. Search the index for your ancestor's name.
Find your ancestor's name in the index. Most indexes are at the back of the book, but some are in front or in a separate volume.
If you cannot find your ancestor's name, check for variations of the spelling. For suggestions, see Name Variations in Canadian Indexes and Records.
If there is no index, scan through the history for a section about your ancestor's town.
Step 4. Search the history for information about your ancestor.
Using what you found in step 3, find and read the part in the history about:
- Your ancestor.
- The area where your ancestor lived.
- The time when your ancestor lived in the area.
- People your ancestor knew.
If you do not find your ancestor, see Tip 3.
Step 5. Copy the information from the history.
Make a photocopy of the page(s) with the information about your ancestor. By copying the entire page(s), you can study the record in depth and save it for future reference. You can analyze the handwriting and note other details you may have missed when you first looked at the record. You may find other relatives of your ancestor.
Be sure to document the source of the information by writing the title, author, book or film number, and page number on the copy, or photocopy the title page at the front of the book or film. Also write the name of the library, archive, etc., where you found the history.
Step 6. Analyze the information you found.
Study the document. Compare the information to what you already knew about your ancestor.
- What does it tell you about your ancestor and about the people who were with him or her?
- Does the record give clues about your ancestor which could guide you to other records?
- Watch for dates, locations, relationships, etc.
Tip 1. Links to histories and articles for each province
To see recommended histories for your ancestor's province, click on the province name below:
- Alberta History
- British Columbia History
- Manitoba History
- New Brunswick History
- Newfoundland History
- Northwest Territories History
- Nova Scotia History
- Nunavut History
- Ontario History
- Prince Edward Island History
- Quebec History
- Saskatchewan History
- Yukon History
Tip 2. Finding local histories
Town or county histories often have more information about residents of that area. Therefore, it is important to see what does exist to help.
Find locate histories through:
- The Family History Library Catalog for the county or town level
- The Internet, searching by town or county name and the word "History"
- Consider using WorldCat or Amazon.com as well
- Libraries in the local area
- Genealogical and historical societies in the area
- When no histories have been published, newspapers are a rich resource.
Tip 3. I found a history, but my ancestor wasn't in it. What shall I do?
First, search for more than just your ancestor. Relatives, in-laws, neighbors, friends—any information you find on them can lead you to more about your own ancestor. When did those people move? Where did they come from?
- For more about this principle of research see Your Ancestor Had A FAN Club.
Look for a historical article in a magazine about your ancestor or the area where he or she lived. A good index of genealogical and historical magazines is PERSI (Periodical Source Index). PERSI indexes about 5,000 magazines. You can search it by surname, county, and province. PERSI is available through:
- Many public and college libraries