Canadian Genealogy Centre – Births, Marriages and Deaths Section

The Births, Marriages and Deaths section at the Canadian Genealogy Centre covers most topics relating to these life events.

The topic of Adoption helps those who are searching for their birth families by providing links and historical references to the subject.

Births/Baptisms provide links to provinces and territories to help those searching for a birth record. When you click on the link it provides a brief history of civil registration in that province and provides details on where to go for more information. They also make available information on looking for a Canadian birth that happened abroad.

Under the topic Cemeteries it provides a brief description of what information you may find at the cemetery. There are links to online sources as well as information on other places to search.

The topic Church Indexes refers to French/Quebec marriages and again you are given links and advice to help with your research.

Civil Registration is similar to Births/Baptisms where it provides you with a list of provinces and territories along with a description of their civil registration records.

In Deaths/Burials you are again linked to civil registration and it gives a brief description of what you may find in the records. They provide information on how to find records at Library and Archives Canada as well as other sources.

Divorce was granted by private acts of Parliament from 1840-1968. There is a name index database that you can search to find the reference and then you can search the appropriate publication to find out more information. They also provide information on other sources you can search as well as provincial and territorial links for divorce records.

The Marriages topic again provides a description of what you may find in the record as well as provincial and territorial links. There is a database for Upper and Lower Canada Marriage Bonds. You get a reference entry as well as a digital image of the record.

Parish registers gives you links to church and provincial/territorial archives. They describe how to search the Library and Archives Canada database to see if they have something relating to the church you are researching.

Wills is the final topic in this section. The Centre gives you a brief outline of the subject and provides provincial/territorial links to find more information. These records are mostly held at the provincial/territorial level.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Canadian Genealogy Centre – Land Records

The introduction page to land records at the Canadian Genealogy Centre gives you a general background into the geography, historic boundaries and records of Canada.

There is a database for Western Land Grants (1870-1930) which covers the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia. This is a name index and the reference will give you the part, section, township, range, meridian, lots, volume, folio, microfilm reel number, names, and place name. This should be enough to find your document on the microfilm. They even provide a section to suggest a correction if you find an error.

The first subtopic in land records is Land Petitions for Lower and Upper Canada. They provide research tips for searching these records and I would suggest reading them. The boundaries changed and it depends on the date you are searching as to whether you search Upper or Lower Canada records.

The website states that the records for Quebec and Lower Canada, 1764-1841 contain the following:

• Petitions for grants or leases of land or for commutation of tenure;
• Reports from the Surveyor General or the Attorney General;
• Submissions to the Land Committee;
• Administrative records;
• Certificates and other documentation submitted in support of individual requests; and
• Copies of committee minutes.

There is a list of microfilm reel numbers for the index and another for the records. They even have a conversion table for Old French Measurement Units.

The index and digitized images of Lower Canada Land Petitions are also available online. The search gives you a summary of the record and then you can click on view image to see the original.

There is a list of names of claimants for the Gaspé Land Commission with a page, microfilm and volume number reference to help you find the original.

Upper Canada (Ontario) and the United Province of Canada, 1797-1867 has no digital images or searchable database online. There are microfilm numbers for an index and for the Land Books and Land Petitions. The website says that the series contains the following:

• Petitions for grants or leases of land;
• Reports from the Surveyor General or Attorney General;
• Certificates and other documentation submitted in support of individual requests;
• Some Canada Company lists; and
• Some lists of settlers by place.

The Provincial Land Records section provides information and links to help you navigate the winding maze of land records in each province.

Land Grants to Veterans refer to the fact that the government gave land to former soldiers. This section leads you to resources where you may find information on a former soldier who received land from the government.

The section on land records is relatively small at the Canadian Genealogy Centre. Most land records are held at the provincial level. Hopefully they will soon have online indexes and images for the Upper Canada Land Petitions.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Canadian Genealogy Centre – Military Records, Part 2

The next topic in the Military section of the Canadian Genealogy Centre is Canadian Forces before 1914.

This includes militia units in British North America as well as after Canada’s Confederation. You can find British Military and Naval Records that cover the time period from the American Revolution through the mid-1800s. This will include the British Army in Canada, Loyalist Regiments, the War of 1812 and the Canadian Militia to name a few.

There are microfilms that include indexes and the records. You will find these listed on the site.

Muster Rolls and Pay Lists from before Confederation which includes Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec) will also be found. The records relating to the time period after Confederation include the other provinces. These records can be accessed through the Government of Canada Files database. You will need the finding aid number and can enter keywords. They tell you how to search these records on the website.

Officers Registers from 1808 through 1922 can be found on microfilm. It is arranged by militia battalion or regiment and lists all the officers. This is not a name index.

The Rebellions of 1837-1838 has an alphabetical list of officers and men who were killed or wounded. At the bottom of this list are digital images for three pages which refer to the page numbers next to the names. There is more information on these pages than in the index.

The Canadian Militia Muster Rolls from 1837 to 1850 are described by the name of the group and years of operation. The microfilm numbers are also provided with this database.

The Red River Rebellion of 1870 has a Register of Service which is on microfilm. There is a sample digital image to show what you may find in the original records.

There is a list of officers and men killed and wounded for The North West Rebellion of 1885. This record is the same as the Rebellions of 1837-1838. There is a page number reference in the index and then at the bottom of the list are the digital images referring to those page numbers.

There is a database for the South African War (1899-1902) which includes personnel records; medal registers; land grant applications; and correspondence relating to those who served. This is searchable by name, regiment and regimental number. Some references have a digital image relating to them and others do not. If you do not have an image then the information provided in the summary when you click on the name should be enough to order a copy of the record.

The Canadian Genealogy Centre provides a list of abbreviations used in military service files.

There is a First World War database that is searchable by name, regiment and regimental number. This database leads you to the attestation papers of the solider. These are in digital format.

Once these records are found you can order a copy of the military service record of your ancestor for the cost of copies and postage. It can be done online at the Canadian Genealogy Centre where it explains how to place your order.

The Centre tells you how to interpret the records you find and you can view sample documents. They tell you how to find information on Aboriginal Soldiers; The Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Newfoundland Forestry Corps; Imperial War Service Gratuity files; Air Forces; Naval Forces; and Armed Forces in Other Countries.

If your ancestor was court marshaled during the First World War there is a database to search for more information.

The section on Canadian Forces after 1918 includes information on the Second World War. If your ancestor died during the Second World War there is a database to help you find more information on how to get their service files.

There are some military records that Library and Archives Canada does not hold or were destroyed and the website provides you with information on these records.

If your ancestor received a military medal you may be able to find out more under the topic Military Medals. There is a nominal card index at LAC for pre 1900 rebellions.

There is a section on War Diaries. These cover the First World War and you require a battalion number or name to be able to find the correct diary for your research. These are searchable online for the Army. Other branches of the military can be found in the Government of Canada Files database. Information on searching these files can be found under the War Diaries topic in the Military section of the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

The final topic in the Military section is War Graves. Here you will find links to various websites where you can search for the final resting place of your military ancestor. Veterans Affairs Canada has a Canadian Virtual War Memorial Database that relates to the twentieth century. There is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Debt of Honour Register and the Canadian Merchant Navy War Dead Registry.

The Books of Remembrance are a sight to see on Parliament Hill and now they are digitized and online to search. You will find links to other types of memorials at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

These two posts have just covered the Military section at the Canadian Genealogy Centre. Visit the website and see what else you may be able to find.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Canadian Genealogy Centre – Military Records, Part 1

The Canadian Genealogy Centre has so much information on the military. The first page provides a list of different topics as well as other websites to help you with your research. The first item on the list is a website that helps you understand Canadian Military History.

If your family history has men who fought for the French Regime in Canada then there is a lot of information available. You will find militia rolls created in 1663 and 1755. Lists of microfilms that relate to the regiments at the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759, as well as a general list of regiments dating from 1759 to 1830.

The Compagnies Franches de la Marine refers primarily to officers. These microfilms include details about promotions, pay and pensions, land grants and notarial records.

In the summer of 1665 1,200 soldiers of the Carignan-Salières Regiment landed in Quebec. You can download a PDF file that lists manuscript sources and an extensive bibliography.

You will have to be able to read the French language to be to search these records.

The next topic is British Forces. If you are researching a regiment that was stationed in Canada then you can find records relating to them at Library and Archives Canada.

Some of these records are: Royal Hospital Chelsea Soldiers’ Documents 1760-1872; Royal Hospital Chelsea Regimental Registers 1713-1868; Registers of Various Regiments 1756-1878; Depot Description Books 1803-1892; Pension claims by widows of officers of the King’s German Legion and British American Regiments 1775-1908; and Muster Books and Pay Lists for various Regiments serving in British North America 1759-1767.

British Military and Naval Records covers the time period from the American Revolution until the mid-1800s. Documents can be found that relate to the British Army in Canada, Loyalist Regiments, War of 1812, the Canadian militia and others.

You will find the Canada General Service Medal Registers, Research in Other Institutions, Research Online and Research in Published Sources. They have a bibliography to help you find more on the subject.

The Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the King during the American Revolution (1775-1783). The same record series we found under British Forces are found under Loyalist. Land Petitions can help you find out more about your Loyalist ancestor. There are two lists of Loyalists. The first is a United Empire List from the Executive Council Office and it contains annotations. The second is the Crown Lands Department Loyalist List which was published in 1885.

The Sir Frederick Haldimand series includes provisions lists and muster rolls that have information relating to Loyalists, disbanded soldiers and their families in the province of Quebec. There is a nominal index to these records.

The Audit Office 12 and 13 has information on Loyalists particularly if they settled in the Maritimes. British Headquarters Papers contain lists of refugees from New York and Rhode Island and have numerous references to Port Roseway and Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

The Book of Negros is indexed and contains the names of Black Loyalists.

Ward Chipman, Muster Master’s Office (1777-1785) has names of Loyalists who were disbanded and with their families settled in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

War Office 42 contains pension claims relating to officers in the German Legion and British American Regiments that were submitted by their widows.

Port Roseway Associates, Muster Book of Free Blacks, Settlement of Birchtown, 1784. In 1783 Loyalists and British troops evacuated New York. The Loyalists, their families, servants and slaves, founded Port Roseway which became Shelburne Nova Scotia. The free Blacks in this group formed a new community called Birchtown. This record has been digitized and can be found online.

German Troops is another topic under military. When the American Revolution started the British did not have enough troops to go into battle, so they made an agreement with the German principalities to employ groups of soldiers.

Between 1776 and 1783 about 30,000 Germans fought in North America. 10,000 of them served in Canada and after the war approximately 2,400 settled in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

You can find listings of microfilms relating to the War Office, Colonial Office, Sir Frederick Haldimand papers and other series of documents.

As you can see this is a large topic at the Canadian Genealogy Centre so I am going to finish it up in the next post.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Have you checked out the Canadian Genealogy Centre lately?

The Canadian Genealogy Centre has a lot of free databases to help you with your research. Some include images and some indexes only.

Let’s start with the census records found at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

The 1911 Canada census is searchable by geographic location only and images are available.

So this is like using a microfilm at home on your computer. Of course, it helps if you have a place name to start the search. If you are searching a large city it can take you a while to get through the census images.

The 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces is another one that is searchable by geographic location only and has images available.

The 1901 Census of Canada is searchable by geographic location and has images.

The 1891 and the 1881 Censuses of Canada can be searched by name and the images are available.

Unfortunately the 1871 Census of Canada is only searchable by head of household and there are no images. If someone in the household has a different last name sometimes you can find them in the index as well.

There is nothing for the 1861 Census of Canada.

The 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick has a geographic search and the images.

Under the topic census they also have a listing of available microfilms for census records in Canada from 1666-1901. The earlier records are mostly for Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

There are explanations of column headings, what censuses are available, enumeration dates and census abbreviations. They give advice if you are searching after 1916 or in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To help you with your census search there are Electoral Maps: The Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) and a Map of Ontario (1874).

The website discusses voters lists. These are modern records and the federal lists start in 1935. There is a list of microfilms available. You will need to know the riding in which your ancestor lived. Remember the boundaries have changed over the years. Some provinces and municipalities also have voters lists that you may be able to search.

One item that gets overlooked is the 1940 National Register. You can order this record for a person who has been dead for 20 years and can read more about it in an earlier posting of The Passionate Genealogist.

We have gotten so used to having indexes for the most popular records. Be adventurous, go in and search the census online as you might have done a microfilm. You do not have to leave your home; it will just take you a little longer. Besides you never know what you may find out about the place you are researching and who else you might find in the process.

And remember these are all offered free of charge.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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