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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Genealogy Over the Border

The Library and Archives Canada (Bibliothèque et Archives Canada), a free web site, was formed in 2004 after the passage of the Library and Archives Canada Act "to create a new knowledge institution for Canadians." The organization is actually the merging of the now defunct National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. Fortunately for genealogists their mission includes documenting and preserving Canadian heritage. To this end, the Library and Archives Canada has created a repository which includes include vital records, censuses, immigration and naturalization, military records, land records, and employment. Genealogists who visit the web site have the option of choosing French or English as the language to conduct genealogical searches of their archived materials. The site is easy to use, has a search engine that covers all its genealogical databases, portrait galleries, online exhibitions, extensive offsite genealogical linkage, and an online help section plus a link where you can ask questions.

From the home page, click "Genealogy and Family History," then click "Canadian Genealogy Centre." This page is the heart of their genealogical research pages. To search the site, just enter your ancestor's surname, then first name, then click "go." If no results appear, try just the surname. A list of results will appear and indicate the record available to view. Click on your ancestor's name and the data will appear. Be careful not to overlook the results. Instead of seeing your ancestor's name first, you may see the spouse's name first with your ancestor's name as a notation on the second line. In some case, surnames will be anglicized. For example, Langlois may be listed as Longley. Despite some of the quirkiness, it's packed with information. If the image of the record is available, there is a little page box after the name. When you click your ancestor's name, you have a choice of viewing the document PDF or jpg format from the text page. From the online image, you can save or download the file to your computer's hard drive.

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