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  • Web Resources for Canadian Research, Part 2

    Michael J. Leclerc

    More and more resources are becoming available on the Internet every day. In the past few years it has become a ubiquitous source for researchers, providing access to a vast number of records, documents, images, and collections that have remained hidden in the past. This column is the second of a two-part series that examines some of the more valuable websites available to those researching their Canadian roots. The first article in this series discussed websites run by governmental agencies. This article examines privately run websites that can help find your Canadian roots.

    Canada GenWeb Project

    Project GenWeb started in Kentucky in 1996, and since then has taken on a life of its own, giving birth to GenWeb projects all over the world. This site is Canada’s take on the popular and informative all-volunteer sites that can be a godsend for those doing genealogical research in an area far from home.

    Canada GenWeb has an individual section for each of the ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec, and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) as well as a separate section for Acadian research and Canada GenWeb for Kids.

    Within the sections dedicated to the provinces and territories, you will find information on a variety of subjects. Each county will usually have its own section, although not  all have detailed information. In most areas you will find information on repositories and governmental agencies, as well as a contact person for that county. These contacts can be particularly helpful to you when you are dealing with an unknown area.

    You will also find details on local genealogical and historical societies, cemeteries, libraries, and churches. Often included are transcriptions of records such as cemeteries or obituaries, many references to published materials for that area (with information on how to obtain items still in print), and an area to post queries for additional information.

    Remember that Project GenWeb sites are run on a completely volunteer basis. It may take some time to receive a reply to your email or posting. These individuals are often overworked and receive no remuneration for assisting you, so please be patient.

    Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproduction (CIHM)

    The Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproduction is an independent, non-profit corporation founded to identify, locate, and microfilm a comprehensive Canadiana collection; improve access to printed materials relating to the country’s history; and ensure that these materials were not lost to the ravages of time. Since its inception in 1978 CIHM has had a very close working relationship with the National Library of Canada and other national organizations to meet their goals. Sixty-six libraries in nine countries, including NEHGS, now own all or part of the CIHM collection.

    The CIHM collection spans over 65,000 titles and contains more than three and a half centuries of published Canadian works. These titles cover many subjects including economics, education, English and French Canadian languages and literature, genealogy and local history, geography, history, women’s studies, and more. Their website includes a database of their microfiche holdings searchable by keyword, author, title, or subject. Microfiche are available for purchase at a reasonable rate. Purchase information is available on their website.

    As part of its mission, CIHM has started digitizing parts of its collection and making them available through a second website, Early Canadiana Online . Currently the online collection includes materials from the following CIHM collections: Canadian women’s history (106,900 pages); Champlain Society Publications (8,000 pages); English Canadian literature (223,700 pages); history of French Canada (124,300 pages); Hudson’s Bay Company history (20,000 pages); Jesuit Relations (22,500 pages); and Native Studies (129,500 pages). The single largest section, however, is that containing three centuries of official government publications. This section already contains 304,500 pages and it is estimated that when completed in 2004 it will contain at least 1.25 million pages.

    Members of the site have access to all of these sections. Non-members have free access to everything but the government publications section, or about two-thirds of the whole contents. All money from subscriptions is used to further fund CIHM projects. Subscription rates vary. See the website for more details.

    Alberta Family Histories Society

    The Alberta Family Histories Society was formed in Calgary, Alberta, in 1980 to promote and encourage family history research. In January 2000 they won the first NEHGS Technology Excellence Award for their genealogical projects registry. This free registry lists genealogical projects pertaining to Canadian ancestry that are planned, underway, or that have been completed. The registry’s benefit to researchers, as noted on their website, is that “genealogical researchers and volunteers in Canada will be able to find data resources better, avoid duplication of extraction/data entry efforts, and faciliate the access of non-web based resources.” Projects are subdivided under the following categories:

    a.         Birth - Church Records
    b.         Birth - Civil Records
    c.         Birth - Newspaper Announcements
    d.         Birth - Other (please specify)
    e.         Marriage - Church Records
    f.          Marriage- Civil Records
    g.         Marriage- Newspaper Announcements
    h.         Marriage - Other (please specify)
    i.          Census (specify year)
    j.          Death - Cemetery Records
    k.         Death - Church Records
    l.          Death - Civil Records
    m.        Death - Newspaper Announcements
    n.         Death - Wills/Probate Records
    o.         Death - Other Sources
    p.         Other - Baptismal Records
    q.         Other - Bibliographies
    r.          Other - Biographies
    s.         Other - Book Indexes
    t.          Other - Church Records
    u.         Other - Directories
    v.         Other - Immigration Records
    w.        Other - Land-Related Records
    x.         Other - Lineages
    y.         Other - Military Records
    z.         Other - Passenger Lists
    aa.       Other - Ship Lists
    ab.       Other - Miscellaneous Resource

    The registry also tracks projects by community and province and is searchable by project type and province. Contact information is available for all projects.

    Global Genealogy & History Shoppe

    Rick and Sandra Roberts have been operating Global Genealogy since 1992. They started by operating a mail-order business and operating booths at genealogical events throughout the United States and Canada. In 1996 they started their website and the following year they started publishing books. In 1998 they opened their physical store in Milton, Ontario.

    Global Genealogy sells the usual assortment of books, CD-ROMs, charts, archival supplies, etc. They are a wonderful resource, however, for materials published in Canada. It is one thing to read about Canadian history written in the United States, it is another thing entirely to read about it from the perspective of native Canadians. Whenever possible, it is always best to read materials published in the country you are researching, and Canada is no exception. They also have a large number of materials published in the United Kingdom and Australia for those researching their British roots.

    In 1997, Global Genealogy started publishing a free online magazine, titled the Global Gazette. All past articles are archived on the Global Genealogy website. Articles cover all of the Canadian provinces and territories (including the new province of Nunavut), England, France, Ireland, Germany, Scotland, Scandinavia, Wales, the United States, and continental Europe. There are also book and software reviews, as well as articles on immigration, technology, and general tutorials. Following are just a few samples of articles and topics available:

    Tracing your “Uterine” Lines
    Unknown Language in Genealogy
    Recording Same Sex Relationships in Family Tree Maker
    Extant Acadian Church Records
    From the Outer Hebrides to Prince Edward Island
    Who Were the Loyalists?
    Genealogy and the Hessian Soldiers
    Back to the Very Root of French Ancestry
    The Marriage Records of England and Wales
    GEDCOM Explained

    Global Genealogy has also been very active in promoting the movement to release the post-1901 censuses in Canada. The website includes extensive information on the history of the controversy, the most up-to-date news on the issues, and contact information and petitions to send to officials in the Canadian government. They have also assisted APOLROD (the Association for the Preservation for Ontario Land Registry Office Documents), an organization that played a pivotal role in preserving the pre-1955 Land Registry Office records, which now reside in local repositories and the Archives of Ontario. Rick and Sandra are to be commended for their major commitment to the genealogical community.

    The sites listed in these two articles are just a small sampling of the information that is available on the Internet. CyndisList.com contains links to hundreds of additional sites that you will find quite useful in your research.

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