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 “Collection 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.

How to find out if a war diary from the Second World War is on microfilm

The article War Diaries: Discover what individuals or military units did during the war explores war diaries, their usefulness and how you can access them. Now, you may wonder: In what formats are they available?

Most First World War Army diaries have been digitized. As for Second World War diaries, some were microfilmed, but many are available in their original paper format only.

To find out if a war diary from the Second World War is available on microfilm, you must perform a search in the Archives Search database. After you have selected the relevant diary title, just refer to the Conditions of access section of the archival description.

For example, the war diaries of the 1st Armoured Car Regiment (Royal Canadian Dragoons) for September and October 1945 are accessible on microfilm reel T-12563.

Although some microfilm reel numbers are not entered in the Archives Search database, we have created a list of reel numbers that you can consult on-site at 395 Wellington Street, in Ottawa, or by contacting Reference Services.

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

New Digitized Reels: War of 1812 Records

We are pleased to announce that you can now access 73,000 new images of War of 1812 records on its website.

Discover these valuable resources and other miscellaneous records for the War of 1812 with the Microform Digitization research tool. This tool allows you to browse these records page by page.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds a unique and vast collection of records about the Canadian men and women who were involved in the War of 1812. Muster rolls, paylists, claims, certificates of service, medal registers, maps, paintings, and published sources are featured in LAC holdings that document this key event.

With these images now online, you have easy access to records for:

  • Board of Claims for War of 1812 losses, 1813–1848, Series RG19 E5A
  • Lower Canada militia nominal rolls and paylists, Series RG9 1A7
  • Upper Canada militia returns, nominal rolls, and paylists, Series RG9 1B7

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

Listen to Canada’s Musical History with the Virtual Gramophone

From patriotic songs and sentimental ballads from the First World War era to classical vocalists and instrumentalists from the 1920s to 1940s; that is what you will find on the Library and Archives Canada website the Virtual Gramophone. This is a great place to listen to recordings from our music collection!

Our Virtual Gramophone website documents the history of the recorded sound industry in Canada, provides biographies of Canadian performers, presents a video of a working gramophone, allows you to search the database, and you can listen to some recordings.

Some of the recordings available online include:

  • Patriotic songs and sentimental ballads of the First World War era
  • Recordings from the rising vaudeville and jazz scenes, and the dance band craze of the 1920s
  • Music from Quebec in the 1920s and 1930s, including the recordings of Madame Édouard (Mary Travers) Bolduc
  • Popular music of the post-First World War era, including recordings from New Brunswick’s Henry Burr, the most prolific recording artist of his time
  • Classical vocalists and instrumentalists from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including Emma Albani, Pauline Donalda, Sarah Fischer, and Hubert Eisdell
  • Military bands, popular songs, and other material in both English and French recorded or released by the Berliner Gramophone of Montreal circa 1901 to 1910

Although the website is no longer updated, it is still a great place to access some of our digitized recordings of the 78-rpm and cylinder music collection held by Library and Archives Canada.

If you have a keen interest in Canadian music, our other websites may also be of interest:

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

Did Your Ancestors Come From Poland?

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

If so, you will find a specific page about genealogical research for the Poles on our website.  It provides historical background, main LAC archival collections and published material and links to other websites and institutions.

If your Polish ancestor came to Canada before 1865, a good starting point would be to consult the three following databases:

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

Tip:

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

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