Newly Digitized Microfilms on the Héritage Portal

Our project partner, Canadiana.org, recently added the following digitized microfilms to the Héritage website. Please note that the titles have been translated for convenience, but the records are still in the language of origin. Searching in the original language will improve search results.

[Governor General] Numbered Files
1903 Headquarters Central Registry, subject files
Alexander W. Wright Papers
Allsop Family
Archibald Lampman: manuscripts, notebooks
Auditor General of Canada: Auditor General of Public Accounts of Lower Canada, Board of Audit and Audit Office
Baby Collection and Finding Aid
Bank of Vancouver Liquidation
Barbara Ann Scott – Black Scrapbook, 1949-1950
Benjamin F. Craig Fonds
Blodwen Davies Collection
Bonds and securities, Upper and Lower Canada, Province of Canada and Canada
Boucher de La Bruère family fonds
Brown and Gilmore, printers
Cabinet War Committee: minutes and documents
Canada. Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations
Canada. Royal Commission on Energy. Submissions (Vol. 1-24)
Canadian Amateur Hockey Association
Canadian Army Courts Martial documents
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Minutes, agenda books and working papers of the Board of Directors
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Office of the Secretary of the Board of Directors
Canadian Lung Association fonds
Canadian Military Headquarters, London
Canadian Military Headquarters, London (CMHQ), Files Block No. 55, includes index at beginning of reel
Canadian National Railways: Central Region Law Department, regional office records
Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission: Records of public hearings
Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission: Records of public hearings in Calgary, Moncton, Corner Brook, Hull, Ste. Foy, Montreal, Saskatoon, Toronto and Vancouver
Canadian Tuberculosis Association: Papers
Canadian Women’s Press Club: Clippings, scrapbooks and other printed matter
Census of the township of Augusta
Census of the City of Montreal, 1831
Census returns 1842: Canada West
Central registry files created by the Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch
Charlottetown, P.E.I. Shipping Registers
Civil aircraft registration, inspection and operation files – 5008 block
Civil Secretary’s records relating to the administration of justice for Quebec, Lower Canada and Canada East
CNR Grand Truck chairmans’ letterbooks
Command reports of the Adjutant General of the Army
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (MG 28, IV I)
Co-operative Press Association: New Releases
Correspondence [from John Galt Fonds]
Correspondence from the Secretary to Post Office Inspectors – Letterbooks – British Columbia, Halifax, Toronto, Charlottetown, Montreal, Quebec, Vancouver and Saint John
Department of Agriculture: Office of the Director General of Public Health, 1889-1912
Department of External Affairs: “1939 Series” Central Registry files
Department of External Affairs: “1939 Series” Central Registry files: Box List, 1909-1939
Department of External Affairs: “1939 Series” Central Registry files: Index, 1909-1939
Department of Finance: central registry records
Department of Indian Affairs: Blackfoot Agency, Peigan Agency, Queen Charlotte Agency
Department of Indian Affairs: Census records
Department of Indian Affairs: Departmental letterbooks
Department of Indian Affairs: Headquarters central registry system: First series and thousand series
Department of Indian Affairs: Headquarters central registry system: red series
Department of Indian Affairs: Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch
Department of Indian Affairs: Office of the Civil Secretary in the Province of Canada
Department of Indian Affairs: Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada
Department of Indian Affairs: School files series
Department of Indian Affairs: The Pas Agency: letterbooks
Department of Indian Affairs: Toronto office of the Central Superintendency: letterbooks
Department of Militia and Defence: Yukon Garrison, nominal rolls and paylists
Department of Militia and Defence: 1903 Army Central Registry, subject files
Department of Militia and Defence: Contracts Branch letterbooks, 1895-1912
Department of Militia and Defence: Correspondence of the Deputy Minister’s office
Department of Militia and Defence: Register of correspondence of the Deputy Minister’s office, 1867-1903
Department of Militia and Defence: Special Forces nominal rolls and paylists
Department of Militia and Defence: Yukon Mortar Machine Gun Batteries
Department of National Defence: Army Historical Section, Index to Army records, volume 1 to 7000A
Department of Public Works: Commissioners for the Lachine Canal
Department of Public Works: Lachine Canal Survey
Department of Public Works: Railway Branch Records
Department of Public Works: Registered correspondence, 1859-1879
Department of Railways and Canals: Canal Branch: Office of the Chief Engineer of Canals
Department of Railways and Canals: Superintending Engineer of the Rideau Canal: Letterbooks
Department of Railways and Canals: Records related to Welland Canal
Department of Railways and Canals: Records related to the St. Lawrence Canals
Department of the Interior: Dominion Lands Branch: North-West Territories, Metis scrip applications
Department of the Interior: Dominion Lands Branch: North-West Territories, Index to Metis scrip applications
Department of Trade and Commerce: from the 1961 central registry system
Department of Transport: Records 1897 – 1947 (Register of Wrecks)
Diamond Jenness: hand-written diaries and typescript of diaries, 1913-1916
Directorate of Internment Operations
Emily Carr fonds
Finding aid for the land records (RG 1) of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and Canada
France. Archives nationales, Section moderne: Série F15. Hospices et secours
France. Colonial Archives: A Series, Actes du pouvoir souverain
France. Colonial Archives: B Series, outgoing mail
France. Colonial archives: C11 G Series
France. Colonial archives: Census for the Île Royal and Île Saint-Jean, G1 Series
France. Colonial archives: Census of Canada, G1 Series, 1685-1739
France. Departmental archives of Charente-Maritime fonds: B Series, Courts and jurisdictions
France. Departmental archives of Île-et-Villaine (Rennes)
G.E. Nares’ journal
G.M. Dawson: Geological Field Notebooks, inventory and finding aid
General pre-Confederation Indian Department accounts
Geological Survey of Canada: central registry
George Strong Nares journal
Gouzenko Affair
Great Britain Colonial Office. 384 passenger lists. Finding Aid 647
Great Britain War Office records, Secretary of War: General outward correspondence, 1756-1767
Great Britain. Colonial Office: emigration, original correspondence (CO 384)
Great Britain. War Office: campaign medals (WO 100)
Haldimand papers
Haldimand papers from the British Library
House of Commons sessional records
I.B. Records of the Canadian Command: correspondence of the Commanding Royal Engineer: special credits, 1867-1869
Indian Affairs, Annuity Paylists
Indian Affairs, Lieutenant-Governor’s Office, Upper Canada: Early Correspondence
Indian Affairs, Lower Canada, Civil Control: Governor’s General Office, correspondence
Indian and Inuit Affairs Program: Battleford Agency, Blackfoot Agency, Blood Agency, Cowichan Agency and Peigan Agency
Indian Land Records, Wiarton Land Office correspondence
Intelligence, sighting of unknown objects
International Aviation Directorate
Jacob Keefer’s journal
Jacques-Henri Fabien collection: Genealogical notes, and index cards
John Maclean fonds
John Maclean: Letterbooks, 1884-1897
John Neilson and family, 1666-1912
Journal de quelques traversées de l’Atlantique
Kingston Penitentiary
Lawrence Ermatinger: Letterbook with index
Letterbooks created and/or maintained by The Pas Agency
Log Book of H.M.S. Pegasus
Loring Cheney Christie fonds and Finding aid no. 189
Lorris Elijah Borden: diary and rough notes
Lower Canada Land Papers
Lunenburg and Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Register of shipping, inwards and outwards
McGill study of Expo ‘67
Merritt Papers
Montreal Saint-Sulpice Seminary fonds: Series II
National Capital Commission: Strategic Planning and Information Management Branch
National Library of France. Manuscript department: Clairambault Collection
Naturalization certificates from the Upper and Lower Canada, the Province of Canada and Canada
Neilson collection with a memorial kept by Brown & Gilmore, August 1763 to July 1774
Nominal rolls and paylists for the Volunteer Militia
Norman Bethune collection
Office of the Deputy Minister of Finance
Office of the Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs: Correspondence and letterbooks
Office of the Governor General in Lower Canada: records relating to Indian affairs, 1801-1815
Office of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs
Office of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs: General office records, 1795-1796
Office records of the Clerk of the Councils
Ontario Local Records: Perth Military Settlement, 1816-1822
Outgoing correspondence of the office of the Deputy-Inspector General and Deputy Minister of Finance
Parish archives for Richelieu County
Parish archives for Saint-Pierre de Sorel: baptisms, marriages and burials
Perth [Ontario] Military Settlement fonds
Peter Hunter collection and papers
Peter Robinson Collection
Port of Saint-Servan Archives
Post Office Department: Divisional Inspectors: Reports
Post Office Department: Transportation Branch: Mail service contract registers, 1839-1980
Post Office Inspectors’ Reports – Halifax, Charlottetown, Saint John and British Columbia
Post Office registry systems: Duplex numeric classification system
Post Office war series, 1939-1945
Post Office: Private Letterbooks, 1891-1892
Prime Minister’s General Correspondence – Nominal card index 1976
Privy Council Office: Cabinet conclusions
Provincial Secretary, Correspondence, Canada East
Public Works registers of all incoming and outgoing correspondence arranged by subject number
Quebec and Lower Canada: Census rolls and related records
Quebec Gazette: Finding Aid 1807, card index
Quebec Gazette: Index, 1764-1823
Rat Portage Inspectorate
Rat Portage Inspectorate: Incoming correspondence, 1880-1882
Rat Portage Inspectorate: Incoming correspondence, band complaints and band estimates
Records from the Office of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs: Letterbooks
Records of entry: ship notifications of arrival, 1865-1922
Records of the Rat Portage Inspectorate of the Department of Indian Affairs: Blottercopy letterbook, 1881-1885
Records relating to charges against J.A.N. Provencher
Report no. 1 of the Committee on Canadian Defence, 1898
Richard Bedford Bennett: Finding aid 434
Royal Canadian Air Force: operations record books
Royal Canadian Air Force: third file classification system and central registry
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: B Division journals
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Yukon daily journals and records
Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia
Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations fonds
Royal Commission to Inquire into the Disorders at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Vicinity thereof, during a Celebration of the Declaration of Victory over Germany on the 7th and 8th May, 1945
Royal Commission to Inquire into the Immigration of Italian Labourers to Montreal and the Alleged Fraudulent Practices of Employment Agencies fonds
Sir Charles Tupper: Political correspondence, letters received, 1840-1915 and Finding aid
Sir Isaac Brock
Sir Lomer Gouin: Correspondence and Notes
Subject, policy and case files in the First Central Registry series of the Immigration Program, 1892-1950
The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation: National Council and National Executive, 1932-1960
The John Galt Papers
Toronto District Labour Council: Minutes
Toronto Trades and Labour Council: Minutes
Transport Canada: Legal Services Division, legal documents (1936-1982)
Treasury Board (Committee of the Privy Council) correspondence: letterbooks
Treasury Board Secretariat
Treasury Fonds: T 28. Various Out-letters
Underhill Papers: Research files, Canada, Edward Blake
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Piping Fitting Industry, Local 46, Toronto
United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel fonds: finding aid no. 285
Unpublished sessional papers, 6th Session, 12th Parliament, 12 Jan. 1916 – 18 May 1916
Unpublished sessional papers, 7th Session, 12th Parliament, 18 Jan. 1917 – 20 Sept. 1917
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 13th Parliament, 18 Mar. 1918 – 24 May 1918
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 13th Parliament, 20 Feb. 1919 – 7 July 1919
Unpublished sessional papers, 3rd Session, 13th Parliament, 1 Sept. 1919 – 10 Nov. 1919
Unpublished sessional papers, 4th Session, 13th Parliament, 26 Feb. 1920 – 1 July 1920
Unpublished sessional papers, 5th Session, 13th Parliament, 14 Feb. 1921 – 4 June 1921
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 14th Parliament, 8 March 1922 – 28 June 1922
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 14th Parliament, 31 Jan. 1923 – 30 June 1923
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 22nd Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 3rd Session, 22nd Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 4th Session, 22nd Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 5th Session, 22nd Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 23rd Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 24th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 24th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 3rd Session, 24th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 4th Session, 24th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 5th Session, 24th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 25th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 26th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 26th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 3rd Session, 26th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 27th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 27th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 28th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 28th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 3rd Session, 28th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 4th Session, 28th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 29th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 29th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 30th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 2nd Session, 30th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 3rd Session, 30th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 4th Session, 30th Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 31st Parliament
Unpublished sessional papers, 1st Session, 32nd Parliament
Vilhjalmur Stefansson: Canadian Arctic expedition diaries, 1914-1918
Wartime Prices & Trade Board
Western Land Grants
Winnipeg General Strike scrapbooks
World War I war charities: Correspondence with High Commissioner in Britain
Y.M.C.A. of Canada

Taking It All In: The Photographic Panorama and Canadian Cities Exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada

Most of today’s digital cameras come with a simple, point-and-shoot mode for creating panoramic images.

But back in the days of film cameras, creating a panoramic photograph meant either spending hours in the darkroom, painstakingly stitching images together by overlapping exposures onto the finished photo paper or buying an expensive panoramic format camera.

Possibly members of the Benjamin Low family on a passenger steamer showing various types of cameras, including a panoramic camera, 1904.

Possibly members of the Benjamin Low family on a passenger steamer showing various types of cameras, including a panoramic camera, 1904 (MIKAN 3191854)

A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa showcases panoramic photographs of Canadian cities from the 19th century. These images, which come from the collections of Library and Archives Canada, document how early photographers used this wide format to capture and celebrate the rapid urban development of their time.

Panoramic photographs exaggerated a town’s size and accentuated its landmarks. This made them useful promotional images and much sought-after travel souvenirs.

The following image is part of a rare panorama of Toronto from 1856. The full panorama (consisting of 12 images) was intended to be used in the city’s bid to be named the capital of the United Canadas. At the time these images were created, photography was a cumbersome and expensive practice.

A view from the Rossin House Hotel, from King Street West to York Street North, Toronto

A view from the Rossin House Hotel, from King Street West to York Street North, Toronto (MIKAN 3194746)

To take this view of the city, the photographer had to lug heavy equipment and chemicals to the rooftop of the Rossin House Hotel. The slow emulsion and wet collodion process required long exposures, which resulted in blurred movement and rendered busy streets into seemingly quiet, deserted spaces.

In 1887, Canadian photographer John Connon patented a panoramic camera, which permitted a continuous, near 360-degree exposure. Capturing images on waxed paper negatives, Connon’s camera rotated on a turntable.

Page from John Connon’s patent application for panoramic camera, 1888

Page from John Connon’s patent application for panoramic camera, 1888 (MIKAN 4628414)

Connon probably used his new camera to take this view of the Canadian Pacific Railway as it passed through the town of Fergus, Ontario.

View along the rail line, Fergus, Ontario, ca. 1886–1887

View along the rail line, Fergus, Ontario, ca. 1886–1887 (MIKAN 4488786)

In addition to being used to capture urban development, panoramic photography was used to take photographs of landscapes, significant events and portraits of large groups.

Visit the exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada or check out our Flickr set to see other panoramas in our collection!

Borrowing the Blocks: Nation-Building in the Archives and Libraries of Great Britain and France

In a speech delivered in 1936, Prime Minister Mackenzie King famously declared, “If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography.” Canada is a relatively young country whose history is inextricably linked to those of countries an ocean away. So how do you try to capture a sense of the past through records when they are held in the archives and libraries of the United Kingdom and France, and how can these records be made available to Canadians?

Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin. CARTE DE L'ACADIE CONTENANT Tous les Ports, Havres, Sondes & Mouillages qui font le long de fes côtes; Les Bois, Montagnes, Lacs, & Marais qui font dans la profondeur de fes Terres & touttes les Rivierres qui en defcendent. Avec une partie de la Colonie Françoise du Canada audessus & dessous de Quebec sur les bords du Fleuve de St Laurent 1702.

Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin. CARTE DE L’ACADIE CONTENANT Tous les Ports, Havres, Sondes & Mouillages qui font le long de fes côtes; Les Bois, Montagnes, Lacs, & Marais qui font dans la profondeur de fes Terres & touttes les Rivierres qui en defcendent. Avec une partie de la Colonie Françoise du Canada audessus & dessous de Quebec sur les bords du Fleuve de St Laurent 1702.
This map was originally produced by the official cartographer for New France, Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin. The map is a copy made by Charles Beaudouin in July 1939. Artists were hired to copy important maps and plans from the archives of Great Britain and France. These maps and plans from LAC’s collection are considered to be originals (MIKAN 4125184).

Early Transcription

A concerted effort to document and promote our past started even before Confederation. Citizens and members of organizations like the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (LHSQ) travelled to Europe to scour records in British and French archives for any mention of Canada. Even Louis-Joseph Papineau, while in exile in France following the Lower Canada Rebellion, identified and copied important records highlighting Canada’s colonial past. When the Dominion Archives was founded in 1872, research increased exponentially. By the time the first Dominion Archivist Douglas Brymner died in 1902, 3,000 volumes of transcriptions of records relating to Canada’s colonial history had been produced. In 1905, a permanent team responsible for the transcription of records was established in Europe. Brymner’s wish had been for Canada to possess those records that bore witness to vital moments in the country’s founding and administration by foreign powers. Over the next century, his vision was realized.

A More Concerted Effort

The success of the copying program abroad was heavily influenced by events of the day. In the 1920s, the economic prosperity of Canada meant that copying increased dramatically because a larger number of copyists, such as locals, working or retired archivists, and Canadians abroad, could be hired. In the 1930s, the copying program shrank, and during the Second World War, copying in France ceased and all transcriptions that hadn’t been sent to Canada yet were kept in the care of the Swiss and American embassies in Paris throughout the war. With the introduction of microfilm and microphotography, the copying process became easier, faster, and more efficient. In a century, more than 450,000 pages were transcribed. From the time that microfilming was introduced in the 1950s to the end of the copying program at the beginning of the 21st century, approximately 2.5 million pages were microfilmed.

Anonymous. Plan de l’enclose de Plaisance en Terre-Neuve [dessin d’architecture] : fait le 15 [septem]bre, 1690.

Anonymous. Plan de l’enclose de Plaisance en Terre-Neuve [dessin d’architecture] : fait le 15 [septem]bre, 1690.
This plan of the settlement of Plaisance in Newfoundland from 1690 was copied by Jules Juteau. In the bottom left-hand corner, you can see the artist’s signature and notation of the date when it was completed (MIKAN 3941581).

From the very first trip abroad by members of the LHSQ in 1835 to the end of LAC’s copying program in the early 2000s, copyists worked diligently in the archives and libraries of France and the United Kingdom to recover documents that help us better understand our past. Many of these copied items can be found on the Héritage website.

The 200th Birthday of Sir George-Étienne Cartier, a Prominent Father of Confederation

Today marks the 200th birthday of one of Canada’s most important historical figures, Sir George-Étienne Cartier, a leading Father of Confederation. Cartier was born on September 6, 1814 in Sainte-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, Lower Canada. He studied law and started practising in 1835; however, politics soon became his passion. His entrance into the world of politics was anything but uneventful, as he played a role in the Lower Canadian Rebellion of 1837 and fought in the Battle of Saint-Denis. Cartier subsequently spent a year in exile in Vermont but pled for leniency and returned to Montreal in 1839.

The Honourable Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Baronet

The Honourable Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Baronet (MIKAN 3476630)

In 1848 Cartier was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada and shortly after was appointed to Cabinet. From 1857 to 1862 he served as co-premier of the Province of Canada with Sir John A. Macdonald following his coalition with the Upper Canadian Conservatives. It was in this period that Macdonald and Cartier started working together and began to garner support for Confederation in an attempt to put an end to political instability.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier (MIKAN 3213760)

Cartier played a pivotal role in gaining French-Canadian support for Confederation. He argued that francophone interests would be best preserved in a federation of provinces. When Confederation finally came about on July 1, 1867, John A. Macdonald became the first Prime Minister and Cartier the first Minister of Militia and Defence.

Shown among their peers are the Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald, the Honourable Sir George-Étienne Cartier and Lieutenant-Colonel John G. Irvine

Shown among their peers are the Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald, the Honourable Sir George-Étienne Cartier and Lieutenant-Colonel John G. Irvine (MIKAN 3192010)

Cartier passed away on May 20, 1873. His death deeply affected his close friend, John A. Macdonald, who proposed that a statue be erected in Cartier’s honour. It was sculpted by Louis-Philippe Hébert and unveiled in 1885. This was the first statue to be placed on Parliament Hill and it can still be seen today. Cartier left his mark on generations of Canadians. The centenary of his birthday in 1914 was marked by large celebrations and another monument was erected, this time in Montreal. Cartier’s Montreal home was designated a National Historic Site.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier (MIKAN 2837680)

While the majority of Cartier’s papers were destroyed, Library and Archives Canada does have several important records, including a family photo album, postcards, and some correspondence that took place during his period as Minister of Militia and Defence. We also have several letters written by Cartier to Macdonald, found in the Sir John A. Macdonald collection (archived).

To find out more about George-Étienne Cartier and his role in Confederation:

Library and Archives Canada releases thirteenth podcast episode, William Redver Stark: The Soldier and the Artist

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is releasing its latest podcast episode, William Redver Stark: The Soldier and the Artist.

Art Archivist Geneviève Morin and Conservator Lynn Curry from LAC discuss the William Redver Stark fonds. They explore William Redver Stark’s background, his time as a soldier during the First World War, and the artwork he produced, specifically the 14 sketchbooks included in his fonds.

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

For more information, please contact us at podcasts@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Capital City Portraits: Faces from the Topley Collection

One of the most popular collections at Library and Archives Canada is the William James Topley photograph collection, acquired in 1936. The Topley collection is comprised of over 150,000 glass plate and nitrate negatives, in addition to 68 studio proof albums, daily assignment logs and account books.

Dating from 1868 to 1923, the large collection illustrates the prolific career of Topley, a Montréal-area native, who began his solo career by opening a branch of the William Notman studio on Ottawa’s Wellington Street. Having worked in Montréal for a number of years as an apprentice to the well-known photographer, William James Topley, would eventually drop the Notman name and run his own studio from a series of Ottawa addresses, moving from Wellington Street to the corner of Metcalfe and Queen, and finally to two separate addresses on Sparks Street.

The photographs produced during Topley’s lengthy career serve as a fascinating visual reference to life in Ottawa, as well as other Canadian cities and towns. His images include street scenes documenting daily life, commissioned photographs of store fronts, Parliament Hill before, during, and after the 1916 fire, and perhaps most compelling, his portraits of citizens, both famous and otherwise.

By 1872, the Topley studio was attracting more than 2,300 sitters a year, including prime ministers, governors general, members of Ottawa’s high society, businessmen, and average citizens. He created his famous composite image of the first major Canadian fancy dress ball, hosted by the Earl of Dufferin and his wife, in 1876.

Many of Topley’s clients were the families of Ottawa’s movers and shakers. Being the capital city, it was common for relatives of politicians, land owners and lumber barons to make their way to Topley’s studio at some point, to sit for a portrait. In the early nineteenth century, it was still a somewhat prestigious event to have your portrait taken, and wives, children, and even pets were photographed at the studio, some of them multiple times over the years.

In viewing these wonderful portraits, it is fascinating to see the clothing, hairstyles, and expressions of Ottawa’s earlier citizens, and interesting to see the faces of people for whom some of Ottawa’s streets, parks and schools are named.

Miss Powell, 1870

Miss Powell, 1870 (MIKAN 3479280)

Miss E. Pattie and cat, 1873

Miss E. Pattie and cat, 1873 (MIKAN 3461227)

Mr. Brewer, 1875

Mr. Brewer, 1875 (MIKAN 3433630)

Miss Sparks and Miss Magee, 1889.

Miss Sparks and Miss Magee, 1889 (MIKAN 3448969)

Mrs. Bronson, 1869

Mrs. Bronson, 1869 (MIKAN 3478860)

Other local portait sitters

For further research

War Brides of the First and Second World Wars

Wars are tragic events but they sometimes have an unexpected silver lining. During the First and Second World Wars, Canadian soldiers often found love overseas, got married and brought back their loved ones to Canada.

We are happy to advise you that we have added a new page to our Military Heritage section about the foreign women who married Canadian soldiers, the war brides. They shared a common experience of leaving their country and heading for Canada on long journeys, first by ship and then by train. They faced many challenges as they settled into a new country, a different culture and sometimes even a new language.

War brides, en route to Canada aboard S.S. Letitia, waving goodbye to families and friends.

War brides, en route to Canada aboard S.S. Letitia, waving goodbye to families and friends. (Source Mikan 3352285)

On this new page, you will find records from a variety of sources. The majority are found in the records of National Defence, Department of Employment and Immigration, Department of External Affairs, the Directorate of Repatriation, and the Canadian Wives′ Bureau, but many also come from private organizations.

Visit the War Brides page to explore the printed and archival resources available at Library and Archives Canada.

Notarial Records

Would you like to know more about the daily lives of your New France and Quebec ancestors? Then you might be interested in looking at notarial records, where you can find a wealth of information about your ancestors’ goods and properties, and any transactions they may have entered into with others. The oldest known notarial record dates back to 1635.

A notarial record is a private agreement written by a notary in the form of a contract. Some of the most common ones are marriage contracts, wills, estate inventories, leases, and sales contracts.

Notarial records are held by the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), but Library and Archives Canada holds copies of some records in the collection, Fonds des greffes de notaires du Québec. You can also use the advanced archives search to look up the name of an individual or a notary.

Sale made by Nicolas Réaume and Charles-Noël Réaume to their brother Alexis. Notary F. Le Guay, May 9, 1781. Library and Archives Canada, MG18, H-44, vol. 8, 4 pages.

Sale made by Nicolas Réaume and Charles-Noël Réaume to their brother Alexis. Notary F. Le Guay, May 9, 1781. Library and Archives Canada, MG18, H-44, vol. 8, 4 pages. (MIKAN 2313614)

How to search for notarial records

You can use a variety of tools to search for notarial records. For the oldest records from 1635 to 1784, consult the Parchemin database, developed by the Archiv-Histo historical research society (French only), which provides an abstract of each notarial record (date of the record, name of the notary, names of the parties, etc.). Parchemin is available at BAnQ, and in some public libraries, and archives.

You can also consult several name indexes (French only) for various regions in Quebec. Through a large-scale digitization project, you also have access to online directories and indexes of notaries from all regions of Quebec up to 1933 through BAnQ’s Archives des notaires du Québec (French only).

Once you have found a reference, you can consult the original record on paper or on microfilm. You may even be able to consult it online as BAnQ, in collaboration with FamilySearch, will eventually have all the records available online.

A paradise for genealogists: Quebec’s civil registers

As any genealogist will tell you, researchers whose ancestors lived in Quebec are fortunate. The sheer volume of surviving civil registers and the manner in which both Catholic and Protestant registers were kept make them a valuable resource. In fact, Quebec has been called “a genealogist’s paradise!”

The careful recording of vital statistics in Quebec is largely due to a series of religious and civil ordinances and regulations originating under French rule.

The historical influence of France

The year 2014 marks the 475th anniversary of the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts [Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts] (in French only), signed in August 1539 by the King of France, Francis I, in what is now the department of Aisne. Under this edict, priests were required to register baptisms and burials. In 1579, another ordinance signed at Blois required that marriages be registered.

With the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and the publication of the Rituale Romanum de 1614, [Roman Ritual of 1614], the Roman Catholic Church further emphasized the importance of civil registration, specifying how to record the names of the godfather and godmother, witnesses, parents, etc.

Finally, in 1667, the Ordonnance de Saint-Germain-en-Laye [Ordinance of Saint-Germain-en-Laye] introduced the practice of keeping duplicate copies; one copy was kept by the priest and the second was filed with civil authorities at the end of the year. This ensured the preservation of innumerable registers that could have been destroyed or lost forever had only one copy existed.

Applications in New France and modern Quebec

These regulations took effect in New France in 1621 and were enforced by local authorities. Following the Conquest of 1760, the British authorities chose to retain it, recognizing the value of this system.

In Quebec, civil status registers have the following characteristics:

  • There are three types of acts: baptism, marriage and burial.
  • The acts are drawn up by parish priests.
  • They are presented chronologically, usually within a single register.
  • They are subject to two separate regulations: ecclesiastical and civil.

See Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages and Deaths to learn more about these documents and how to consult them.

Happy searching!

Major Update to the 1861 Census of Canada Database

Following the release of the 1861 Census of Canada database in 2013, a number of missing records and misplaced images were reported by Library and Archives Canada clients and staff. We corrected over 133,000 entries! Following is a list of improvements to the database.

Canada West and Canada East Issues

In Canada West, the records for the cities of Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa and Toronto were previously reported missing but the records did exist. The five cities, although enumerated separately in 1861, were tucked away amongst their neighbouring rural districts. For example, the city of Ottawa was listed under the district of Carleton and the city of Kingston was listed under Frontenac. The five cities are now correctly identified as districts and their respective wards are identified as sub-districts.

Additionally in Canada West, the rural districts of Renfrew and Russell were also reported as missing. The records for those two districts and their sub-districts can now be searched. In the rural district of Kent, the sub-districts of Camden and Gore, the town of Chatham, and the district of Chatham have been correctly identified. The images in the districts of Brant and Dundas are now correctly linked.

In Canada East, several image linking errors were corrected, particularly in the districts of Argenteuil, Montcalm and St-Jean.

Census Databases Online

Library and Archives Canada’s website currently contains 15 census databases. While conducting your family research, perhaps you have found an entry for an ancestor whose name was transcribed incorrectly or his/her age was misread by the transcriber. We can fix that!

To request a correction, click on the link, “Suggest a Correction” on the item page and provide your email address and an explanation. Once we have confirmed that the suggestion reflects the content of the original census record, the revised transcription will appear on our website. Remember that spelling variations are common and that a surname may have changed over time. Therefore, playing around with different spellings of a surname increases your chances of finding your ancestor. Using Soundex — a way to find phonetic variations of your name — can also be helpful.

Enjoy your time travels in the last census before Canada’s Confederation!

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