Finding Aid 300

Federal census records offer genealogists a wealth of information.

Did you know that there are various types of early census records? These could be very useful for your research.

Our Finding Aid 300  is a comprehensive guide to early censuses and similar documents held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
The finding aid and other census information are available on the LAC website under Censuses.

Please note that some census records only include the head of a household and only provide statistical data for the remainder of the family or household. These types of censuses rarely indicate the relationship between the head of the household and other family members; other kinds of census records contain only statistical summaries.

For example, if the finding aid indicates “aggregate returns” or “recensement sommaire,” it includes statistics only.  However,  if identified as “nominal” or “nominatif” the census includes a list of names.

Happy hunting!

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

Library and Archives Canada Launches Its Portrait Portal

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has launched its online Portrait Portal, making available more than 15,000 high-quality digitized images from the national portrait collection.

Explore the online resources of the Portrait Portal.

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

The Top Five Things You Need to Know Before You Visit

Are you visiting Ottawa to do some research at Library and Archives Canada? Before you arrive, there are five things you need to know:

1. All researchers need a user card

You can register for a user card in two ways, either in person at the registration desk or online by submitting the User Card Registration Form. Present your photo ID at the registration desk to retrieve your user card.

You must read and agree to the terms and conditions in the User Agreement before you can obtain the user card.

2. There is a difference between service hours and opening hours

Our service points, including the registration desk, are only open during service hours when staff is on site and ready to help you. The building is accessible during opening hours, but staff is unavailable. These hours are posted on the Visit Us section of our website and in the building.

3. Order your research material in advance

At least five business days before your visit, order up to ten items of archival material by using our online Material Retrieval (Onsite Consultation) Form. You may order up to five items of published materials the same way as above, or place your order by telephone at 613-996-5115 or 1-866-578-7777 (toll-free in Canada and the US) by selecting option 8 in the automated menu.

4. Book your reference appointment, if necessary

We are applying a new approach to service delivery. This means that no appointment is necessary for basic orientation and genealogy services, which are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. However, you must book an appointment if you need to consult our reference experts or genealogy specialists.  See the Contact Us section of our website for more information.

5. Where to start your online search

There are a variety of databases to choose from, so we encourage you to watch this 90-second video tutorial to help you determine “How to Begin your Search Online.”

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

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

  • LAC added that there is no need to make an appointment for basic assistance for genealogical research. Staff is available from 10 AM to 3 PM, Monday to Friday. However, you must book an appointment if you want to consult with staff before or after those hours.

The School Files Series, 1879 -1953

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds records created by the federal government about the administration of residential schools.

The School Files Series (archival reference RG10-B-3-d) within the Indian and Inuit Affairs sous fonds contains records created from 1879 to 1953 about residential schools and day schools.

This series contains some records of the admission and discharge of students at residential schools, as well as files on the establishment of individual schools.

The School Files Series has been digitized and is available through the Microform Digitization section of the LAC website.

Our reference specialists recommend a list of which schools are mentioned in which volumes and reels of the series. This list can be found in the Search Help section of the digital version of the series. It will prove to be quite useful when navigating the School Files Series.

Additional Resources

  • For more information on how to search the Microform Digitization section, use the Search Help section.
  • View the description of this series in Archives Search for additional information.

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

Royal Tour: The Duchess of Cornwall’s Canadian Ancestors

Did you know that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles, has among her ancestors a Premier of the Province of Canada and two New France pioneers, Zacharie Cloutier and Jean Guyon?

How is this possible?

It’s simple. The Duchess of Cornwall’s great-great grandfather, William Coutts Keppel (1832-1894), visited Canada and married Sophia Mary MacNab (1832-1917), on November 15, 1855, in Hamilton, Ontario.  She was the daughter of Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798-1862),  Premier of the Province of Canada from 1854 to 1856, and Mary Stuart.
As we continue to climb Mary Stuart’s family tree, we discover the names of Zacharie Cloutier and Jean Guyon.

You can find many archival and published materials regarding these historical figures in our collection; some are digitized and available online. Try finding them by “Searching all”!

Learn more about Allan Napier MacNab’s career by consulting the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

Do you wish to know if you have someone famous as an ancestor? Learn more by discovering our Genealogy Services!

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

New France Census Records

Did you know that several nominal censuses dating from the early French colonial period have been digitized and are available on our website?  You will see that most of these census records list only the heads of the household. Here are a few examples (in French, only):

To find other censuses such as those mentioned above, simply enter the keywords “recensement nominatif”, “recensement habitants” or “recensement familles” in our Archives Search database  and select “Online: yes.”

Note that since the records are of French origin and have been written only in French you must use French keywords to search.

For more information on census records, we invite you to visit our Genealogy and Family History pages.

Happy hunting!

Queen Victoria Images Now on Flickr

Did you know?

During the mid-1840s, Queen Victoria’s birthday was celebrated as a holiday in Canada West on the 24th of May. It became closely associated with Empire Days through the 1890s, and was adopted by Parliament in 1901 as a national day of celebration.

Victoria Day is a Canadian federal holiday. Since 1952, it has been observed on the last Monday before May 25.

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

Do you want to search only LAC collections… or those of many libraries across Canada?

Have you been using Library Search and noticed that you’re seeing results for materials that aren’t actually held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC)? Are you wondering how to limit your search to just materials in LAC’s collection?

Library Search is built on AMICUS, the Canadian national catalogue. As a national catalogue, AMICUS lists published materials held not only at LAC, but also those located in over 1,300 libraries across Canada.The default search option for Library Search is to search everything in AMICUS, not just LAC’s collections. This means that by default, you search all holdings listed in all the libraries that contribute to AMICUS. If you want to search only what LAC holds, change the “Search in:” option to “LAC Catalogue”:

Colour image of the Library Search function in Library and Archives Canada’s Library Search database.

Library Search function in Library and Archives Canada’s Library Search database.

You can also limit your results from the results page using the “Found in:” option on the right-hand side of the search results:

Image of the Library Search function displaying various locations and search result numbers

Image of the Library Search function displaying various locations and search result numbers.

The LAC catalogue does contain a small number of catalogue records for items we do not hold. We include the catalogue records for reference purposes. If you do not see “NLC Copies” near the top of the catalogue record, it is possible we do not hold that item. If you’re unsure whether or not we hold an item, please use our Ask Us a Question form to request clarification.

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

Clarification for Film, Video and Sound Recordings

Our experts would like to add some clarifications to our earlier post: Lights, Camera, Action! Searching for Film, Video and Sound recordings.

Some published audiovisual material, such as feature films, can be found through the Film, Video and Sound Recordings database.  Some can be found in Library Search.  It is therefore recommended that you search both.

Fonds and accession records of items searchable on the Film, Video and Sound link can also be found using Archives Search.

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

Guide for Residential Schools Research Now Available Online

We are pleased to announce that Conducting Research on Residential Schools: A Guide to the Records of the Indian and Inuit Affairs Program and Related Resources at Library and Archives Canada is now available online. The guide explains how to find and consult the records that are available in LAC’s collections about Indian residential schools, with a focus on records created by the Department of Indian Affairs (RG 10 / R216).

The guide also identifies types of archival records created about residential schools by federal departments, gives search techniques for finding these records, and explains how to access them.  It also lists finding aids that are useful for residential schools research, non-governmental records in LAC’s collections with information about the schools, and websites and other sources of information about the residential school system and its legacy.

The guide is available at the following address:

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