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
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
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.
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” LinesUnknown Language in
GenealogyRecording Same Sex Relationships in Family Tree Maker Extant
Acadian Church RecordsFrom the Outer Hebrides to Prince Edward IslandWho
Were the Loyalists?Genealogy and the Hessian SoldiersBack to the Very
Root of French AncestryThe Marriage Records of England and WalesGEDCOM
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
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.