Are we related? Discover your French-Canadian roots through a family association

A family association is an organization formed of people who share one or more ancestors with the same surname. In most cases, these are French-Canadian families. The main goal of a family association is to perpetuate the memory of these ancestors and preserve the cultural heritage associated with them, such as the land that was granted to them in New France, or the ancestral house, if it still exists.

The association members organize meetings and reunions, small or large, and publish newsletters; many also have a website. A grouping such as this of people sharing the same surname can be very helpful when doing genealogical research. Many associations have published the findings of their searches in their newsletters or in the form of a “genealogical dictionary.” If you are having trouble tracing one of your ancestors, we strongly recommend that you contact an association.

The first family associations

The Trudel-Trudelle family appears to have been one of the first to create a family association, in 1909. In the early 1940s, numerous family associations were created to mark the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the ancestors of the Poulin, Gravel, Bellemare and Gagnon families, among others. On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Île d’Orléans in 1979, 19 family associations were created and the phenomenon really began to spread. In February 1983, the Asselin, Cloutier, Dion, Langlois and Lemieux family associations founded the Fédération des familles souches du Québec, now known as the Fédération des associations de familles du Québec, a service co-operative with over 200 member associations. Certain family associations have not joined the Fédération.

To find out more

To find out whether a family association exists for your surname, visit Centre de généalogie francophone d’Amérique or do an internet search using keywords like your surname combined with the words “association” and/or “family.” For Acadian families, visit Fédération des Associations de familles acadiennes.

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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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!

Timothy Eaton

There’s no better time than the internationally celebrated St. Patrick’s Day for highlighting the history of Irish Canadians. So let’s take this opportunity to learn about Timothy Eaton, the famous founder of the Eaton’s retail chain. Born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Timothy Eaton settled in Canada with his family around 1854. You can find out more about him in various Library and Archives Canada (LAC) resources—here’s how.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online contains an interesting biography of Timothy Eaton, with a number of genealogical details such as the dates of his birth, marriage and death, and the names of his parents.

Unfortunately, since few lists of arrivals prior to 1865 have survived, Timothy Eaton’s name cannot be traced on any passenger lists

LAC’s various databases—particularly the census databases—are excellent sources of information. For instance, the 1871 census lists Timothy Eaton as a merchant living in Toronto West with his wife Margaret and their three children, Edward, Josina and Margaret.

LAC also has a large collection of city and county directories that generally contain an alphabetical list of adult residents, along with their occupation and address, as well as businesses, churches, schools, social organizations, municipal services, and so on. A search of the City of Toronto directories for 1907 shows that Timothy Eaton, President of Eaton Co. Limited, lived at 182 Lowther Avenue, and that his store, the T. Eaton Co. Limited, was located at 190-214 Yonge Street.

A number of Eaton’s catalogues have been digitized and are available online. For more information on this topic, please read our blog post, “Time Travel” Research Tools: Discover Canadian Mail Order Catalogues.

The blog post Did Your Ancestors Come From Ireland (Eire)? can also help you in your search for your Irish ancestors. And 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.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Home Children (Part V)—The Honourable James Murdock

Today’s article is about the Honourable James Murdock, a labour minister in Mackenzie King’s cabinet who was appointed senator in 1930. He arrived in Canada through the home children movement.

Since James Murdock was a Member of Parliament, the logical place to start your research is his biography on the Parliament of Canada website. There we find out that he was born in Brighton, England, on August 15, 1871. Additionally, an article in The Ottawa Citizen announcing the death of his wife Annette Follis in 1965 also states that James and Annette married in 1903.

As explained in previous articles, you must first consult our main home children online resource. Enter the surname Murdock and the first name James into this database and it will generate three results, including two for James Murdock, age six, who arrived in 1876 under the auspices of Annie Macpherson’s organization. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know which of the two references relates to the James Murdock we are looking for.

Other Library and Archives Canada sources also provide information about James Murdock and his family. The 1911 Census indicates that James Murdock and his wife Nettie (short for Annette) lived in Toronto South―the same district where Murdock would run for election in 1921―with their two children Basil and Elena, as well as a servant named Ada Hennings.

You can also find further references to James Murdock in other published sources, such as city directories and newspapers.

It is possible to learn more about the British origins of James Murdock or another home child by contacting the organization responsible for the child in question. In this case, it was an agency managed by Annie Macpherson, which was taken over by Dr. Barnardo’s organization in 1924 (Barnardo’s Family History Service).

Finally, don’t forget to read the previous articles in this series: Introduction, Part II on Edward Brignall, Part III on Harold Mornington and Part IV on Wallace Ford.

Happy hunting!

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

Home Children (Part IV) — Wallace Ford

Today’s article is on American actor Wallace (Wally) Ford. Despite his difficult childhood, Ford had a successful show business career and appeared in over 200 films. He was born in Bolton, England, on February 12, 1898, and named Samuel Jones Grundy. He lived in a Barnardo Home before being sent to Canada, after which he stayed in several foster homes, including a farm in Manitoba.

As explained in previous articles, the first step is to search our main home children online resource. However, if you search this database for the surname Grundy and the first name Samuel, no results come up. A second attempt using just the surname Grundy is equally ineffective, so another strategy is in order.

Since biographical sources also contain the surname Jones, we will presume that Grundy was dropped and Jones was used as his family name. A search with the latter gives you an item display for Samuel Jones, seven years of age, part of a group of 163 children who arrived in Canada on July 1, 1905, on the SS Southwark. The Passenger Lists, 1865–1922 have been digitized and you can access an image online of the passenger list for the SS Southwark.

How did Samuel Jones become Wallace Ford? As a young teen, Samuel Jones ran away from the Manitoba farmer for whom he worked. In the United States, after the tragic death of his friend Wallace Ford, Samuel Jones adopted his deceased friend’s name to honour his memory. From then on, Canadian Samuel Jones was known as Wallace Ford on American soil.

In 1936, Wally Ford, who was now a well-known actor, found his mother, Catherine Jones. Thanks to co-operation between the Los Angeles Police Department and New Scotland Yard, and after over 20 years of searching, mother and son were reunited.

Finally, remember to consult the previous articles in this series: Introduction, Part II on Edward Brignall and Part III on Harold Mornington.

Happy hunting!

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

Library and Archives Canada releases sixth podcast episode

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of its latest podcast episode: Home Children.

LAC Project Manager and Genealogist Marthe Séguin-Muntz along with John Sayers of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, join us to talk about the lives of Canada’s Home Children. They will discuss some of the incredible stories of hardship and prosperity in early Canada, share a wealth of resources available at LAC and provide helpful research tips and tools to discover your family history.

Subscribe to 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 podcast@bac-lac.gc.ca.

Did your ancestors come from China?

Do you ever wonder who your first Chinese ancestor was and when he or she left China and arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your family’s Chinese 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 the Chinese people. It provides you with historical background information, archival and published material from our collection, as well as links to other websites and institutions. This page also contains a link to the Immigrants from China database which provides access to more than 98,000 references to Chinese immigrants who arrived in Canada.

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

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

The Home Children (part three) — Harold Mornington

The second article in this series of three explains how to find information about one of the British home children, Edward Brignall, who served in the Canadian Armed Forces during the First World War. This third article looks at another home child, Harold Mornington, who served in the British Army in the Second World War.

As with Edward Brignall, the process begins with a search of our main online resource on Home Children. Entering the family name Mornington and the given name Harold into the database yields a single reference; it indicates that Harold was 14 years old when he left Liverpool on March 11, 1932 aboard the SS Montclare, and arrived in Halifax on March 19, 1932. He was part of the last group of 36 children sent to Canada by the Barnardo agency.

The passenger lists from 1925 to 1935 have been digitized and can be consulted online. The digital image of the list of passengers aboard the SS Montclare can be examined as well, which confirms the information found in the home children database. It also contains other information, such as the name and address of Harold’s mother, Mrs. Mornington, who lived at 16 Orlando Street, in Caldmore, Walsall, England. More information about Harold Mornington’s family history can be found by contacting the Barnardo’s Family History Service.

Beginning in the 1920s, immigration inspectors drafted Juvenile Inspection Reports when conducting periodic evaluations of children brought to Canada by different agencies. These files are available only on microfilm. A search on reel T-15424 shows that between 1932 and 1936, Harold Mornington worked for five different employers in the Ontario districts of Durham, Brant, Oxford and Hastings.

A reference found on the site of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission reveals that sometime between 1936 and the beginning of the Second World War, Harold Mornington returned to England. He joined the British Army and died on May 23, 1941, while still a member of the Royal Artillery. He was the son of William Joseph and Elizabeth Mornington.

Lastly, Harold Mornington’s military service record is kept at The National Archives in the United Kingdom.

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

Did your ancestors come from Scotland?

Do you ever wonder who your first Scottish ancestor was and when he or she left Scotland and arrived in Canada? Are you curious about your family’s Scottish 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 Scots.

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!