Did Your Ancestors Come From Ireland (Eire)?

Originally posted on Library and Archives Canada Blog:

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…

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Immigration and Citizenship records at LAC: Did your ancestor arrive in Canada between 1865 and 1935?

This second article of a series depicting Immigration and Citizenship sources held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), explains how to find arrivals between 1865 and 1935. Passenger lists reveal details such as the country your ancestor came from, his or her occupation and the intended destination in Canada.

Key resources*:

The Passenger Lists for the Port of Quebec City (1865-1900) database provides 967,017 references to names found on this list. As an example, Laura Muntz Lyall, the Canadian artist who painted Interesting Story, arrived in Canada from England in 1870. A search in the database yields a reference and a link to the image for the arrival of  Laura Muntz and her family on 27 June 1870 aboard the SS Scandinavian.

Arrivals in Canada are also found in the Passenger Lists, 1865-1922 database where documents can be searched by name of ship, date, and place of arrival.

From 1919 to 1924, a form for individuals called Form 30A was used instead of the large sheet manifests of all passengers on a ship. The microfilms of these records have been digitized and can be consulted online. First locate the number of the microfilm, then consult the digitized microfilms of Ocean Arrivals, Form 30a, 1919-1924.

For ancestors who arrived between 1925 and 1935, you first consult the Passenger Lists and Border Entries, 1925-1935 database. As an example, let’s search for Johannes Nisula. He arrived aboard the Montrose at Quebec City on May 26, 1926. Click on “Search” in the left menu, type in his information, and click the “Submit” button. Looking at the result, it’s important to note all the details: name, ship, port of arrival, the volume, page number (189), and microfilm reel number (T-14722). Then navigate to the microform digitization page, select “Passenger Lists: Quebec City (1925-1935)” and click on the reel number (T-14722). Page number refers to the paper sheets, so you will have to look for the page number in the top right of the image. In our example, page 189 of the pages appears on page 335 of the microfilm.

There are also immigration documents for the home children that were sent to Canada during the child emigration movement. The name index of home children was compiled by the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa  and was created from the passenger lists held by LAC.

Also discover these two podcasts that focus on immigration:

For arrivals after 1935, records of immigrants remain in the custody of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

*Note: Don’t forget that the Search Help page of a database is the best place to find out how the records are arranged.

The nicknames and “dit names” of French-Canadian ancestors

In France, nicknames were added to surnames to distinguish between families with similar names living in the same geographical area. When immigrants coming from France settled in New France, this custom continued. Some immigrants, mostly soldiers, already had an alias or a “dit name” when they arrived while others acquired a “dit name” after they settled in New France.

How were “dit names” created?
“Dit names” were created by taking a person’s family name, adding a nickname that described one of the individual’s unique characteristics, and connecting the two with the word “dit,” for example, Miville dit Deschênes.

These nicknames were based on the following:

  • physical characteristics (Le Fort, Le Roux);
  • moral characteristics (Le Bon, Le Sage);
  • trades (Le Boucher);
  • places of origin, including country, province, city, town, village (le Picard, Le Normand);
  • places of residence (Du Val, Du Puis);
  • first names of ancestors (Deblois dit Grégoire, Fasche dit Robert);
  • actions (Ladébauche, Ladéroute).

Until around the 1850s, both surnames and “dit names” were used in records. After that time, only one of the two names was used.

Lists of “dit names” and their associated surnames can be found in the publications and websites that follow:

  • Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours (AMICUS 21710319) by Cyprien Tanguay, volume 7 (also available online on the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec website);
  • Dictionnaire des familles du Québec, (AMICUS 3994211) by René Jetté;
  • Répertoire des noms de famille du Québec, des origines à 1825 by René Jetté and Micheline Lécuyer (AMICUS 8402862).

Other relevant websites

Conduct your own research using AMICUS
Do your own search for “dit names” in AMICUS by title or subject using terms such as “name,” “family name” and “France.”

Validating your ancestor’s arrival in Canada before 1865

So you have searched the immigration records prior to 1865, and still no trace of your ancestor? If you didn’t find your ancestor’s arrival before 1865, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has other genealogical resources that can assist in confirming an ancestor’s arrival in Canada.

Where did he or she settle?
Is he or she listed in census returns? LAC’s collection of census databases, which can be searched by a person’s name, can confirm an individual’s presence as early as 1825. Perhaps a reference exists for one of the parents (recorded as the head of the family) or for a sibling.

Many early settlers submitted petitions to obtain land where they could establish their family in Upper Canada or Lower Canada. LAC’s databases provide references to land transactions that give the person’s name, the date of the application and the county or township within a province.

Perhaps he served in the military?
Muster rolls, pay lists and various registers can reveal useful information when tracing former military personnel. Have a look at the Military page where many finding aids are searchable by name. For example, the RG8, C Series (British Military and Navy Records) includes records about Loyalist regiments, the War of 1812, and the Canadian militia. The documents for the RG8, C Series have been digitized and are searchable by name on our website. Refer to the Help pages for explanations of the records.

Life events in records
The date of arrival in Canada can be estimated by searching birth, marriage, and death records for first occurrences such as the birth of a child to confirm the presence of the family in a location. Consult our previous blog on how to search for Birth, Marriage and Death Records.

Published sources
Family histories, historical atlases and other published works can be searched in AMICUS, LAC’s online catalogue. It is also possible that your ancestor lived in a location that published a city directory.

The genealogical community
Many genealogical societies have resources specific to where your ancestor settled. Finding aids that describe a location are valuable tools when searching for ancestors.

Happy discoveries!

New version of the Naturalization Records, 1915-1951 database

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the online database Naturalization Records, 1915-1951. The nominal index has been extended with the addition of more than 93,000 names and now covers the years from 1915 to 1939, inclusively. Work is ongoing to extend the nominal index to 1951, and volunteers are welcome to help. Those interested should write to Cdn-Nat-Coord@jgs-montreal.org.
This database is one of the few Canadian genealogical resources specifically designed to benefit researchers having roots other than British. The reference numbers indicated in the database can be used to request copies of the original naturalization records, which are held by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Library and Archives Canada would like to thank the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal and its volunteers, without whom this project would not have happened.

Did your ancestors come from Finland?

Do you want to know who your first Finnish ancestor was and when he or she left Finland and arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your Finnish origins?

If so, our website is a great place to begin your research. Here you will find a page dedicated to genealogical research on the Finns. This page provides you with historical information, archival documents and published material from the Library and Archives Canada collection, 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 the passenger lists.

Your ancestors and the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, many French Canadians fought under the command of Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry in the Canadian Voltigeurs, a light infantry unit. The Voltigeurs’ main battle exploit was the Battle of the Châteauguay, which was fought on October 26, 1813, when some 1,700 Canadians helped drive back more than 3,000 Americans, preventing a major attack on Montréal.

Here are a few avenues for research that will help you determine whether your ancestors were among the Voltigeurs:

Library and Archives Canada has many documents on military service, including documents related to the War of 1812. Drafted mainly in English, these include muster rolls and paylists, along with land claims and petitions scattered throughout the collection. However, there are no military service files for specific individuals, unlike what is available for the First World War.

The starting point for your research is to find a contract of service, which all Lower Canada militiamen had to sign before a notary. This was the case for Joseph Auclair (1794-1861), who took part in the Capture of Detroit and in the Battle of the Châteauguay. This document provides physical details and the name of the regiment and of the commanding officer. The Notarial Records page explains how to find this key document.

Certificate of enlistment of Joseph Auclair by Jean-Baptiste-René Hertel de Rouville, captain, Canadian Voltigeurs unit, drafted before the notary Charles Pratte, December 27, 1812, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Certificate of enlistment of Joseph Auclair by Jean-Baptiste-René Hertel de Rouville, captain, Canadian Voltigeurs unit, drafted before the notary Charles Pratte, December 27, 1812, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

You can also find references to medals awarded to veterans of the War of 1812 in our Medals, Honours and Awards database. With a bit of patience, you will be able to locate the name of your ancestor on paylists, also called Nominal Rolls and Paylists. Many militiamen were also granted land. These grants, announced in The Quebec Gazette, were confirmed by land patents, which can be found in our Lower Canada Land Petitions database.

Lastly, to save you time, it is very important to read the search help pages carefully to find out how documents are organized.

Mission Accomplished! Access to 15 Databases in One Stop!

On December 18, 2012, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced the upcoming deployment of a series of 15 databases on Canadian census returns. Following the online publication of the 1861 Census returns database a few weeks ago, LAC is proud to report: mission accomplished!

Now, using the LAC website, it is possible to consult nominal indexes for census returns from 1825 to 1916. That is a total of more than 32 million documents. Moreover, all these indexes are available at no cost!

This massive undertaking required continuous cooperation from members of a number of LAC teams, as well as highly organized operations, over a number of
months.

What is the final result?

  • A clear presentation that is consistent with the Government of Canada’s Internet accessibility standards.
  • The ability to perform a search using nominal or geographical criteria.
  • Standardized geographic metadata that is now available in both official languages.
  • The ability to choose between images in JPG or PDF formats.
  • The ability to suggest corrections.
  • Weekly automatic updates.

And, ultimately, for you, valued users, a much simpler and easier way to trace your ancestors!

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

Did your ancestors come from the Ukraine?

Originally posted on Library and Archives Canada Blog:

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

If so, our website is a great place to begin your research. For instance, you will find a page specific to genealogical research about Ukrainians.

It provides you with historical background information, archival and published material from our collection, 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.

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

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Did your ancestors come from Acadia?

Originally posted on Library and Archives Canada Blog:

Do you ever wonder who your first Acadian ancestor was and when he or she arrived in Acadia? Are you curious about your family’s Acadian heritage?

If so, our website is a great place to begin your research. For instance, you will find a page specific to genealogical research for Acadians. It provides you with historical background information, archival and published material from our collection, as well as links to other websites and institutions.

You may begin by consulting the Parish Registers fonds, which contains transcriptions of parish registers of various Acadian parishes and from the Gaspé peninsula.

You may also consult the biographies of the 37 main Acadian families, such as “Surette” and “Poirier” [available in French only], from the Université de Moncton’s website.

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

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