New LAC Podcast Episode!

We are pleased to announce the release of the latest podcast episode: The Lest We Forget Project.

Since 2001, Library and Archives Canada has been supporting the Lest We Forget Project, connecting youth to Canada’s history by making military personnel files available, both in person and online. This month we’ll introduce you to the project (which has experienced a pan-Canadian expansion over the past two years), highlight LAC‘s digitization efforts, and explain how teachers, students and Canadians alike can participate.

Subscribe to episodes using RSS or iTunes, or just tune in at: Podcast – Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

1921 Census countdown!

Census records are one of the most useful sources for genealogical research. They can help you discover when and where your ancestor was born, the occupations of a household’s members, what year an immigrant arrived in Canada and many other details.

Census returns were enumerated geographically (according to a person’s residence), not by an individual’s name. The information for each sub-district was recorded in the order in which the enumerator visited each household. Many genealogical societies and individuals transcribe and index census returns by name and make them accessible.

Our census indexes page provides you with helpful links to these indexes. Starting in 1851, a census for all of Canada was held every ten years, with the addition of a census specifically for the Prairie Provinces in 1906 and 1916.

Of course, genealogists and family historians are always eager to consult a new census and we have been receiving questions about the 1921 Census and when is it going to be available.

The 1921 Census of Canada

Census returns after 1916 are in the custody of Statistics Canada, not Library and Archives Canada. The records are closed under the Statistics Act and the Act to Amend the Statistics Act [www.parl.gc.ca/common/Bills_ls.asp?lang=E&Parl=38&Ses=1&ls=S18&source=Bills_Senate_Government]. Under the legislation, when 92 calendar years have elapsed since the taking of a census, those records will be opened for public use and transferred to Library and Archives Canada.

The 1921 Census was taken on June 1st, which means that it will be in the custody of Library and Archives Canada on June 1, 2013. Our intention is to make it available to researchers online, in the same format as previous censuses, as soon as possible after that date.

A few facts about the 1921 Census:

  • it was taken on June 1, 1921
  • it is the sixth comprehensive decennial census to be taken since the creation of the Dominion
  • there were five schedules with a total of 565 questions
  • 241 commissioners and 11,425 enumerators were employed
  • the most important growth of the population was in the prairie provinces with 47% since the 1911 Census
  • the overall population of Canada was 8,788,483 individuals

Share some of your research tips!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

UPDATE

Census of Canada, 1921 – Available to Researchers in the Next Few Weeks

Library and Archives Canada took custody of the Census of the Canadian population, 1921 from Statistics Canada, and is beginning work to make it discoverable for Canadians. Closed for 92 years under the Statistics Act to protect individuals’ private information, the census data is being indexed so it can be mined for historical and genealogical research as soon as possible.

Taken on June 1, 1921, the census contains a wealth of information available on more than 197,500 images. The almost 11,700 commissioners and enumerators recorded by hand nearly 8.8 million individuals in thousands of communities across the country. Census returns were geographically enumerated, that is to say according to a person’s residence and not by individuals’ names, in the order in which households were visited.

Information for the census was collected on the following five subjects: population; agriculture; animals, animal products, fruits not on farms; manufacturing and trading establishments; and supplemental questionnaire for persons who were blind and deaf. This represents a total of 565 questions. The population questionnaire contained only 35 questions.

Library and Archives Canada is committed to making the 1921 Census’ rich and complex information accessible and available to all Canadians, no matter where they live, in the next few weeks. Further details on the 1921 Census’ availability will be shared once they are available.

Canadians can continue to access censuses taken before 1921 through Library and Archives Canada’s Census Indexes webpage to learn more about their families and study Canada’s past. Census records are among the most often consulted resources on Library and Archives Canada’s website.

Summary of comments received in French up to September 30th, 2013

  • Many users asked when the 1921 census will be available online. LAC informed then that the official release date is June 1st, 2013. Afterwards, LAC will start the digitization of the census. The digitized images of the 1921 census were available to the public on August 7th, 2012 on the Ancestry.ca website.
  • A user asked if it will be possible to participate in the indexing process. LAC responded that multiple options were being explored.

New Digitized Reels: Border Entry Records

We are pleased to announce that you can now access 121,302 new images of immigration records on our website, with the Microform Digitization research tool.

Before 1908, people were able to move freely across the border from the United States into Canada. Beginning in that year, entry ports were established along the border. From 1908 to 1918, and from 1925 to 1935, border entry records were compiled in a list format to record the names of immigrants.

By providing these images online, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is now offering all immigration records containing nominal information for immigrants from 1865 to 1935 in its custody. Discover these valuable resources with the Microform Digitization research tool, which allows you to browse, page by page, the border entry records.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

Opa! Did Your Ancestors Come From Greece?

Do you wonder who your first Greek ancestor was and when he or she left Greece and arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your family’s Greek heritage?

If so, the LAC website is a great place to begin your research. For instance, you will find a page specific to genealogical research for the Greeks. It provides you with historical background, LAC’s archival collections and published material, as well as links to other websites and institutions.

If your ancestor came to Canada between 1865 and 1935, you might find his or her name on passenger lists.

Tip

Tracing your Greek ancestor in Canada is the first step. Joining a genealogical society  is an ideal way to begin your genealogy research.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

What’s New? The Release of a New Video Tutorial

Black and white drawing of a man sitting in front of a computer screen that is displaying a family tree, diary, photograph and mapOur rich and varied holdings are just a click away. Tune in to our video to start your online search today!

This video is the first in a series of tutorials that provides useful tips and recommends tools to help you discover and access archival records, genealogical resources and published materials at LAC.

The tutorial series is just one of a number of LAC modernization initiatives that focuses on providing you with quick and useful information about our services.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

“Time Travel” Research Tools: Discover Canadian Mail Order Catalogues

Reference specialists at Library and Archives Canada often wish they had a time machine where they could just dial in a year and away they would go!  While this is just fanciful thinking, Library and Archives Canada’s online collection of Canadian Mail Order Catalogues is a “time travel” research tool. This site provides an opportunity to discover English and French mail order catalogues, from a number of different stores, from the 1880s to the 1970s.

These department store catalogues provide a detailed record of many aspects of everyday life over the last century.  They contain everything from household furnishings and furniture, to all manner of clothing and accessories, kitchenware, patent medicines, toys, tools, and sporting equipment.

These catalogues can be used to identify and date collectables and memorabilia; to price household items from a certain time period; to establish the approximate dates of photographs by studying fashion trends; or to research props, sets and costumes for theatre and film. The possibilities are endless.

Whether you browse the catalogues for research purposes or just for fun, we hope that you will enjoy the trip back in time.

Tip

You can navigate each catalogue page by page or search all the catalogues by keyword.  For example, the results of a search for the keyword “hockey” will include a wonderful image of hockey sweaters from the Eaton Automne et hiver 1950–1951 catalogue.

Tidbit

To convert catalogue prices into today’s dollars, the Bank of Canada’s Inflation Calculator [www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator/] is a handy tool.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Did Your Ancestors Come From Ireland (Eire)?

Do you wonder who your first Irish ancestor was and when he or she left Ireland and arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your family’s Irish heritage?

If so, the LAC website is a great place to begin your research. For instance, you will find a page specific to genealogical research for the Irish. It provides you with historical background, LAC’s archival collections and published material, as well as links to other websites and institutions.

If you know your Irish ancestor came to Canada before 1865, the following three databases are great starting points for your research:

If your ancestor came to Canada between 1865 and 1935, you might find his or her name on passenger lists.

Tip

Tracing your Irish ancestor in Canada is the first step. Tracing your ancestor in Ireland will require more research as the county where he or she came from in Ireland might not be known. Joining a genealogical society is an ideal way to begin your genealogy research.

Don’t forget to listen to The Shamrock and the Fleur-de-Lys, our podcast about the mass immigration of Irish settlers to Quebec in the 1800s.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Discover Finding Aids – Part Two

As we discussed in our first article “Discover Finding Aids”, finding aids are tools that provide information about the archival documents held in a fonds or a collection. One of the most common types of finding aid is the content list. It typically provides general file-level reference information. In Archives Search, a content-list finding aid for a fonds or a collection can appear in a number of ways:

  1. It can be attached to the fonds-level description as a portable document format (.pdf file). This is generally true for collections or materials acquired from private individuals (usually identified by collection codes beginning with “MSS”) as in the example below:
A two-column, black-and-white image of a search result in Archives Search. The left column displays the word “Finding aid.” The right column displays the result with a link to a pdf finding aid.

Mikan 103625

  1. It may also be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinked number found beside the “consists of” text. This is generally true for collections of materials acquired from government departments (usually identified by collection codes beginning with “RG”).
A two-column, black-and-white image of a search result in Archives Search. The left column displays the words “Series consists of.” The right column displays the words “7893 lower level description(s).”

Mikan 133700

  1. Sometimes the content list is only identified by a number in the text paragraph, which can be found beside the Finding aid field label in a fonds, collection, series or sub-series description.
A two-column, black-and-white image of a search result in Archives Search. The left column displays the words “Finding aid.” The right column displays a brief written description of the content list.

Mikan 106943

Content lists simply identified by number generally exist in paper format only and must be consulted in person (or copies must be obtained). Numbers beginning with MSS (e.g., MSS0211) most often refer to content lists for collections or materials acquired from private individuals. Finding aids composed of numbers separated by a hyphen (e.g., 12-13) usually refer to content lists for collections of materials acquired from government departments.

This concludes “Discover Finding Aids – Part Two.” You can now read the Archives Search results to help you locate the finding aids.

 Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to Search for Images Online

Did you know that you can search for images in our collection online, simply by using a “copy negative number”?

What is a copy negative number?

Copy negative numbers are used to identify a photograph or a work of art in our collection. They usually start with a C-, a PA-, or an e number, such as:

  • C-041979
  • PA-005001
  • e002505688

Copy negative numbers are usually included along with the image in the photo credit in books, articles or online.

So what do you do if you have found a copy negative number, in a book or online, and would like to know if Library and Archives Canada holds this image? How do you get to the image’s description in our database?

It’s simple, just follow these tips:

You can search Archives Search by copy negative number; however, there is a trick to it…

  • C- and PA- numbers must have six digits after the hyphen in order for our database to recognize them.
  • Zeros should be added at the beginning of a shorter number to create a number with six digits. For example, if you see PA-5001 you need to enter PA-005001.
  • Copy negatives starting with an “e” do not follow the six-digit rule (they do not require a hyphen either).
  • Look under the heading entitled “Conditions of Access” for the copy negative number starting with C- or PA-, or under “Terms of Use” for e numbers.
  • You will need the copy negative number to order a photographic reproduction or a digital image of a work of art.

For more information, read our blog post How to Find Photographs Online for other quick hints to help you search for photographs.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!