Friday, April 23, 2010

Resource Tips From a Pro

When it comes to genealogy resources, we all appreciate the essential, love to come across the innovative, and are . . . well, delighted . . . by the delightful. Even if you don't live in Canada or have Canadian ancestry. you may be interested to read the recent article by Tammy Tipler-Priolo, "Essentials, Innovations & Delights," on, as the author shares favorite resources used in her own "everyday research business." Among those mentioned are resources for Canadian, French Canadian, English, Irish, and Scottish research. When I was working in the software industry, in the field of human factors, the most successful programs went beyond functional to delight the users, which meant, exceeding expectation. To call a resource delightful is high praise, indeed.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 launches British Prisoners of War database

With the 70th anniversary of the start of World War Two (September 1, 2009) approaching, has launched online British Army Prisoners of War, 1939-1945, which contains the records for more than 100,000 prisoners of war (POW) captured during the conflict, including the names of many ancestors of living Canadians. Nearly one-third of Canada’s population claims British heritage, which means that many Canadians with ancestors who fought for or alongside the British Army may be able to find ancestors in this collection.

As one of the few World War Two archives not subject to the UK’s ‘75-year rule’,  this collection is a vital resource for anyone looking to trace British and Commonwealth soldiers captured by German Forces during the war. The majority of World War Two records are not yet available to the general public as individual records are still protected by the rule.

In addition to the POW records, has also published online the UK Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945, featuring the records of all British Army personnel killed in action during World War Two.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 Releases U.S. to Canada Border Crossings, 1908-1935

Canada’s leading family history website,, today launched online the indexed and fully searchable Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935, which contains more than 1.6 million names from border crossing documents captured at almost 200 entry points over a 27-year period. 

The release of this collection is of great significance to many Canadians whose ancestors immigrated to Canada through the U.S. in the early 20th century. Border crossing records are the official and only immigration records for those individuals who crossed from the U.S.
Along with the Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, which were launched in September 2008 and contain more than 7.2 million names, the Border Crossings: from U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 represent the most comprehensive collection of Canadian immigration records ever assembled online.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009 announces release of 1916 Prairie provinces census

In a world first, , Canada’s leading family history web site, today launched online the 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which contains 1.7 million names and more than 38,000 images of original Census pages in an indexed and fully searchable format. From 1906 to 1956, a separate Census was taken for the Prairie provinces five years after every national Census, providing a more complete picture of Canada’s west at this time. By law, the collection was kept private for 92 years and this is the first time ever that Canadians can view these important records online.

Family and social history enthusiasts can search the collection by first and last name, residence, place and year of birth, by father, mother and spouse’s name. This Census was also the first ever in Canada to ask about military service, providing much more detailed information about one’s ancestors. In addition to recording basic population and demographic statistics, the Census recorded primary migrant communities, which originated from England, Ireland, Scotland, the U.S. and Russia. In fact, 1916 was the year that the famous Doukhobors - a group of Christian Russian immigrants that would come to play a great role in building the Prairies - first arrived in Alberta.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director,, comments: “The 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta is a fascinating and valuable snapshot of the Canadian Prairies and the people living there during a time of tremendous significance in the shaping of our country. Not only are Census records one of the most vital resources for family history researchers but they help paint a picture of the times in which these people lived and the many challenges they overcame.”

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Turning Michigan-Canadian Research Upside Down

Through a series of examples, in her article, "Turning Michigan-Canadian Research Upside Down," Judy Rosella Edwards illustrates her thesis that "Immigrants did not always follow a straight and obvious route. Michigan-Canada migrations create an intriguing panorama of people on the move. Browsing through biographies from the 1800s it becomes obvious that arrivals from the Old World traipsed back and forth between the United States and Canada." The article also shows how an understanding of the early geography can direct or redirect research.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Canadian Civil Servants Lists, 1872-1900, now online, Canada's leading online family history web site, announced in a recent press release, the online launch of the fully indexed Canadian Civil Servants Lists, 1872-1900, which features more than 78,000 records of those employed in departments of the Canadian Government during the country's early days of Confederation.

Before online databases existed, there were physical record books kept of employment at government offices. Like the Victorian equivalent of today's corporate intranet or internet site, these record books would have been used to find out who did what, when and where. The records give family history researchers a unique opportunity to find out how an ancestor's career might have progressed and how much they earned, as well as offer personal individual information such as birth date, age, date of first appointment, years at post, promotion to present rank, creed or religion and nationality of origin.

The records are available fully indexed and fully searchable online for the first time and help paint a more vivid picture of the working life of Canadians just before the turn of the 20th Century. They also provide a fascinating comparison of how the salaries and job titles differed from today.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Online research in Canada

For those doing research in Canada, an article published in the Time & Transcript, provides a list of favorite web sites. The author writes, "Each week, I spend hours visiting genealogy-related websites. Many are visited only once, but I've worn an electronic path to the front door of many others. . . . Like many genealogists, my research takes me all over Atlantic Canada, so some websites contain information for specific provinces while others cover the entire country.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Redesigned Canadian Genealogy Centre web site benefits users

In a recent press release , Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced three new online products to assist genealogists and family historians to access information on their ancestors in both LAC and other Canadian collections. Chief among these is the newly redesigned Canadian Genealogy Centre website, at The website makes available Canadian collections of immigration, military, public service, land and census records and provides advice and guidance to researchers. It was voted one of the world's 100-best genealogy websites by Family Tree magazine.

"The new Canadian Genealogy Centre website provides easy access to records of significant interest to Canadians," said Librarian and Archivist of Canada Ian E. Wilson. "The search tools allow Canadians access to a very personal piece of Canadian history-a piece relating to somebody's own family-with the click of a mouse." Mr. Wilson added that the new website and search tools demonstrate how LAC's priorities in digitizing its collections and in working through partnerships with other institutions, benefit Canadians wherever they may be.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

New tool aids Canadian genealogy research

A new service out of Quebec, Canada is in the news. According to a press release out today, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) announces a new Web site dedicated to genealogical research. Launched by BAnQ in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC),, also available in French at, provides the public with a user-friendly and innovative federated search engine free of charge.

Designed to respond to the growing public interest in genealogy, features a set of search tools that even beginners can master rapidly. Maintained by BAnQ, the new search engine allows genealogists to conduct searches against several databases at once.

Most of the interface-compatible databases brought together at are hosted by federal, provincial or territorial Canadian libraries or archives centres. The project's leading partners are BAnQ, LAC and the Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists of Canada.

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Canadian-Style

Announced today in Canada's Cape Breton Post, "CBS's new fall season is full of Canadian reality." Among the release of new reality TV programs is Who Do You Think You Are?, a genealogy-based series of profiles in which 13 prominent Canadians trace their family histories. Don Cherry, Shaun Majumder and Chantal Kreviazuk will be among those profiled.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Canadian passenger lists 1865-1935 to be digitized and indexed

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and, the largest Canadian family history web site announced, at the Ontario Genealogical Society's (OGS) annual seminar, a strategic partnership to make more resources accessible to Canadians interested in online family research, as noted in press release out today.

Initially, and LAC will focus on indexing the Quebec City passenger lists from 1870 - 1900, which comprise more than 750,000 names. The digital images of these and other passenger lists are already available on the LAC web site. The index for Quebec City will be available free of charge on as well as on LAC and will continue to work together to ensure that eventually the entire Canadian passenger list collection from 1865 to 1935, which includes ports in Halifax, St. John, Vancouver, Victoria and North Sydney, is digitized and indexed.

In addition to the Canadian passenger list collection, later this year and LAC will also make available border crossings records from the United States to Canada that took place between 1908 and 1935, and other Canadian immigration forms later this year. These additions will add to's already expansive Canadian Border Crossing Collection, which already includes more than 4 million names of individuals who crossed the Canadian-U.S. border between 1895 and 1956.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

ROOTS 2007 Conference to be held in June

An article in the West Island Chronicle spotlights the Quebec Family History Society ROOTS 2007 Conference, celebrating 30 years of volunteer community service. The conference will be held June 15 -17 at Montreal's McGill University.

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Canadian research books online

Digitized newspapers and books are a great boon to genealogy, and more and more such resources are being put online. A recent article in Nova Scotia's Amherst Citizen, "Finding treasure in digitized books," discusses the difficulty of building a personal library and finding the right books, and suggests a useful resource for Canadian local histories. Our Roots, Canada’s Local Histories ( is an on-line library of Canadian history books. Although limited by copyright, availability and funding, the library is well stocked. Thousands of English and French titles are available. Each book listed on the web site has been digitized. In other words, every page of each book has been scanned or photographed. The pages can be viewed and printed. In a brief survey of the site, I was able to view the scanned images at no charge.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Ancestry releases Canadian Border Collection

Great news and one more place to check -- online -- for those who have not yet found their immigrant ancestor in U. S. passenger lists. In a recent press release, announced announced the release of a new Canadian records collection, offering 4 million names of individuals who crossed the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1956. These historical records are the latest addition to's Immigration Records Collection, which also includes more than 100 million names from the largest online collection of U.S. passenger lists, spanning 1820 to 1960.

An often-overlooked, but major U.S. immigration channel, the U.S.-Canadian border typically offered easier entrance to the United States than sea ports such as Ellis Island. This new collection includes immigrants who first sailed to or settled in Canada before continuing to the United States as well as U.S. and Canadian citizens crossing the border. Among the busiest ports of entry on both sides of the border were Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.The border crossings also contain a surprising number of nationalities with Russians, Italians and Chinese among the most common nationalities of people crossing the U.S.-Canadian border.

While you do pay to access the records, you can search the records without charge. To learn more about the collection, see Border Crossings: From Canada to U. S., 1895-1956.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Canadian early historical records online

Good news for Canadian researchers -- great new historical records go online, complimenting available census and vital records. and today announced a partnership to digitize and bring online nearly 300 years of's early historical records spanning from the 1600s to the 1900s. The new collection includes more than 6,200 publication titles and 1.6 million pages of family histories, local histories, biographies, civil service records and other early historical documents. is digitizing and making these records available online along with its existing and highly complementary collections such as the fully indexed 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911 Censuses of Canada. The Genealogy and Local History Collection to 1900 is the largest family and local history collection of its kind in Canada. Such records go a long way toward helping researchers build the "story" of their ancestors.

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