At the centre of it all: Library and Archives Canada’s Vancouver Office

By Caitlin Webster

After providing service for many years from a suburban warehouse, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Vancouver is celebrating six months at its new public service point at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch.

Since 1992, LAC clients in British Columbia had been travelling to the Western Canada Regional Service Centre in Burnaby to consult archival records in reading rooms set up within the vast facility.

More recently, LAC began a project to redefine our national presence, in an aim to broaden services outside Ottawa, collaborate more closely with local memory institutions, and have greater visibility and impact across the country. One result of these efforts has been the establishment of co-location arrangements for LAC offices in Halifax and Vancouver.

Following closely on the successful establishment of LAC‘s public service point in Halifax, the LAC Vancouver office implemented its co-location partnership with the Vancouver Public Library VPL. LAC launched its public service point in the central branch of VPL on November 8, 2017, with a Signatures Series interview featuring former Prime Minister Kim Campbell. At this public service site, LAC Vancouver provides in-person orientation and reference services, as well as kiosks for LAC research tools and subscription databases such as Ancestry.ca.

A colour photograph of a round building resembling the architecture of the Colosseum in Rome but clearly contemporary with its glass windows on the top two floors.

Exterior view of the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch in downtown Vancouver. Photo: Vancouver Public Library.

In the first six months of service, LAC staff have assisted clients with questions on a variety of subjects, including Scottish emigration agents, the first Chinese Ambassador to Canada, evolving land-title laws, Indigenous genealogy, and the history of local buildings and other sites.

A colour photograph of a woman sitting behind a service desk with a Library and Archives Canada banner behind her.

Public service desk and self-serve kiosks at Vancouver Public Library’s central branch. Photo: Caitlin Webster.

In addition, given the ongoing needs of the local community regarding Indigenous claims, treaties and other subjects, LAC Vancouver continues to provide access to original archival records of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada from British Columbia and Yukon. LAC Vancouver provides reference, Access to Information and Privacy review, consultation, reprography, and other services for this selection of archival records at another site, next door to VPL‘s central branch.

A colour photograph of a room with large tables for the purpose of consulting documents.

LAC Vancouver’s reference and document consultation room at 300 W. Georgia Street. Photo: Caitlin Webster.

Since the move to this new location, interest in on-site document consultation has risen dramatically. The amount of archival material consulted by clients has increased by 54 percent, and the number of pages copied or scanned for clients has more than doubled!

Collaborative projects are also in the works, including exhibitions, information sessions and learning opportunities. For instance, LAC recently held an Indigenous genealogy workshop in which it highlighted relevant resources. LAC’s goal is to host many sessions like this one, offering diverse services to local clients and making the most of this new partnership.

For details on LAC Vancouver’s hours of service, location, and other information, please visit the Service Points Outside of Ottawa page.


Caitlin Webster is an archivist at LAC Vancouver.

A day in the life of a Reference Archivist

By Alix McEwen

I’ve always thought that, to be a good reference archivist at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), you need certain qualities. You need to have a solid knowledge of Canadian history and culture. You need to have an understanding of what is in LAC’s holdings, and how the records are collected organized. You must also enjoy working with people. However, it really helps if you are a lover of puzzles and are prepared to do some digging to help solve them.

A recent puzzle that came my way originated with a question from a former colleague about a copy of a particular document presumed to be a pre-Confederation Order-in-Council (OIC). He wanted to know if the federal Cabinet of the time had actually approved the OIC. The date scribbled in the margin of the document is “12 July 1856 OIC pp. 220-221 Vol. 10019.” Almost exactly the same reference information appears at the bottom of the document: LAC RG 10 vol. 10019 pp. 220-221. The subject of the text is the formation of the Indian Land Fund.

The copy of the record of pre-Confederation OICs is found in RG 1 E-8 (RG 1 = Records of the Executive Council of the Province of Canada). However, the LAC reference given is to a Department of Indian Affairs document (RG 10). A brief moment spent in our Archives Search database showed that the RG 10

volume 10019 corresponds to Matheson’s Blue Books, which did not provide evidence that this was an exact copy of an OIC.

Back to the first steps: I searched the indexes and registers of RG 1 E-7 volumes 72-93. These sources are available to help a researcher locate pre-Confederation OICs. The problem is they are handwritten and the writing is not easy to decipher. I looked for the following entries: Indian Land Fund, then Fund on its own, then Land on its own—but no luck.

On to the next steps: Google Books (yes, we do use Google!). A search there provided some confirmation that there was an OIC relating to Indian Affairs signed on the date in question. More importantly, it led me to an unpublished Indian Affairs research paper “The Indian Land Management Fund,” by David Shanahan. My colleagues in the LAC Aboriginal Archives section were able to provide me with a copy of this paper.

This was a turning point. In the introduction to this paper, Mr. Shanahan notes, “There is no satisfactory evidence that the fund was established by Order-in-Council as has been previously believed.” He then devotes a whole chapter to the origins of the Management Fund. Most important to me was the fact that there was indeed an OIC dated July 12, 1856; however, what it did was to set up the Pennefather Commission, tasked with discovering the “best mode of managing the Indian property.”

So, why could I not locate this OIC? This time I returned to the microfilm of the OICs themselves, not to the indexes and registers. As is the case with many of our unrestricted microfilm reels, access is much easier, now that they are digitized and available via Heritage. I found the section that covered the date in question, and was then able to turn from page to page before finally finding what I wanted. RG1 E 8 vol. 60 p. 443 12th July 1856 (reel H-1795)—that was my final reference. The OIC, indeed, did not set up the Indian Land Management Fund.

A microfilmed page with handwritten text from RG1 E 8 volume 60, page 443.

Order-in-Council dated 12th July 1856, RG1 E 8 volume 60 page 443 (microfilm reel H-1795)

I was still puzzled as to why I could not locate a reference to this OIC in the indexes and registers. Back I went, this time resolved to go slowly and start under the letter “I” for anything related to Indian. Before too long, I found my reward. The OIC was referenced in the index under “Indians, Civilization of”—an uncomfortable reminder that to search historical records you need to be aware of the terminology and attitudes of the time.

Do you have a puzzle that could use the attention of a problem-solving archivist or librarian? Submit your question in writing to us today.


Alix McEwen is a Reference Archivist in the Reference Services Division.

Finding Royalton: Searching the 1921 Census

By Julia McIntosh

For those of you wanting to learn more about searching the Census of Canada, this blog will give you some helpful tips and techniques to use in your own research.

Background

In my work at the reference desk, I received a question about the population data for Royalton, New Brunswick, specifically the number of males between the two World Wars, as the query related to recruitment. “A piece of cake,” I thought, “How difficult can it be?” As a librarian, I tend to head to the first appropriate published document. To my surprise, Royalton was too small to have been mentioned in any of the standard print sources, which focus on larger towns and cities rather than on small rural hamlets or unincorporated villages. It was time to rethink my search strategy.

Two censuses took place between the wars: 1921 and 1931. The former was preferred because it was already digitized and my client would be able to access the documents online (see the 1921 Census).

The Issues

The first issue was to find the exact location of Royalton, according to the census districts and sub-districts. For this, I had to find a contemporary map and compare it with the 1921 Census Districts and Sub-districts: New Brunswick. I also had to determine in which county and parish Royalton was situated and then determine the correct sub-district by the written description provided. Sadly, Internet map sites tend not to provide the county detail required, nor do they provide easy access to maps of the era. However, the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick did just that. Their website told me that Royalton was “Located E of the New Brunswick and Maine border, 3.16 km SW of Knoxford: Wicklow Parish, Carleton County.”

Back to the census districts and sub-districts, I searched for Carleton, assuming that the district would be related to the county name. As we all know, assumptions can be problematic! The district was not under “C,” but “V”—District 48 – Victoria and Carleton. Who knew?

My trials and tribulations were not over, however. Complicating things, there were three sub-districts in Wicklow Parish, with nary a mention of Royalton:

  • Sub-district 11 Wicklow (Parish)
    “For all that portion of the Parish of Wicklow, north and east of the following described line: Beginning at the River Saint John at the Hugh Tweedie farm; thence west along the road known as the ‘Carr Road’ to the Greenfield Road, thence north along said Greenfield Road to the Summerfield Road; thence west along said Summerfield Road to the Knoxford Road, and thence northerly along said Knoxford Road and a prolongation of the same northerly to the line between Carleton and Victoria and to include all those who border on said roads.
  • Sub-district 12 Wicklow (Parish)
    “For all that part of the Parish of Wicklow, south and east of the following line, beginning at the River Saint John at Hugh Tweedie’s farm, thence west along the road known as the ‘Carr Road’to the Greenfield Road, south along said Greenfield Road to the south line of the Parish of Wicklow, and to include those bordering on said Greenfield Road, south of said ‘Carr Road.’”
  • Sub-district 13 Wicklow (Parish)
    “Beginning at a point where the Knoxford Road crosses the county line between Carleton and Victoria, thence running west along said county line until it reaches the American boundary line, thence south along said boundary line until it reaches the Parish of Wilmot, thence east along said Parish line until it reaches the Greenfield Road, thence north along the Greenfield Road until it reaches the Summerfield Road, leading from Summerfield to Knoxford Road, thence following the Summerfield Road west, until it reaches the Knoxford Road; thence north along the Knoxford Road to place of beginning.”

What map to use? As time was of the essence, I didn’t have the luxury of waiting for a 1921 Census map to be called up for me, so I checked our digitized map collection. The most current available was a Population map from the 1891 Census. At that time, Royalton was found in the Electoral District of Carleton. Hoping that not much had changed in 30 years, I compared the map with the written descriptions and deduced that Royalton was in Sub-district 13 – Wicklow (Parish). Worried that a map from 1895 might be too old, a subsequent check of the Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada, 1915 confirmed the Electoral District of Victoria and Carleton, but surprisingly, Royalton was missing. At least the county hadn’t changed its boundaries in the intervening years!

A black-and-white map of the Electoral District of Carleton, New Brunswick, with boundaries indicated in a thick red line.

Map of the Electoral District of Carleton (N.B.) taken from the Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) database. Original source is the Electoral atlas of the Dominion of Canada: according to the Redistribution Act of 1914 and the Amending Act of 1915 (AMICUS 2925818)

The second issue, the identification of those enumerated as living in the village of Royalton, should have been straightforward, but it quickly became evident that this also was going to be complicated. I went to the printed Volume I – Population of the Sixth Census of Canada, 1921, and found Table 8 – Population by Districts and Sub-districts. Under Victoria and Carleton, then Carleton County, I found Wicklow – population 1,689. However, there was no entry for Royalton under the heading Towns, nor was there a breakdown by sex. However, Table 16 – Population…classified by sex gave me the breakdown for Wicklow – 900 males and 789 females. This was definitely getting closer, but remember, Wicklow Parish has three sub-districts, of which no. 13 includes Royalton. I needed to get as close to the census numbers for the village as possible.

Results

My only option at this point was to consult the raw data collected for the census, which meant going to the digitized version of the 1921 Census on our website. A search by keywords Royalton and Province: New Brunswick gave zero results. However, Wicklow and Province: New Brunswick gave 1,600, which more or less tallied with the totals I had already found for the parish. The prospect of going through all those entries was daunting, to say the least.

Luckily, after opening a few pages and skipping around the document, I found a Title page for the enumerations of District 48, Sub-district 13, Wicklow Parish, pages 1-14. Success!

A handwritten title page in black ink, which reads: 1921, N.B. Dist. 48 Carleton, Sub. Dist. 13, Wicklow Parish. Pages 1–14.

Title page for the enumerations of Sub-district 13 – Wicklow Parish, District 48 – Carleton, New Brunswick, 1921 Census.

I still had the dilemma of the breakdown by sex, however. Even though the numbers would be smaller than for all of Wicklow Parish, it would still involve a fair amount of counting. Fortunately, the enumerator had tallied the numbers on the last page of the section for Sub-district 13, Wicklow:

Males – 340; Females – 316

Still hoping for the specific numbers for Royalton, I saw that column 5 on the form was titled “Municipality.” So, with happy expectations, I set out to do the smaller count.

Remember those trials and tribulations that dogged me previously? They hadn’t disappeared in my search for the specific Royalton population count. Royalton first appears on page 3, line 39 for Sub-district 13. The enumerator starts by indicating Royalton by name in the municipality column, but then crosses these entries out and replaces the name with Carleton, which, as we all know, is the county! Subsequently, and consistently, the enumerator enters Carleton as the municipality by page 4.

First page of Census of Canada, 1921 document showing the enumeration entries for Royalton.

Census of Canada, 1921, Province of New Brunswick, District no. 48, Sub-district no. 13. See column 5, Municipality for Royalton.

At this point, I conceded that I wasn’t going to find the number of males in Royalton and passed along the information to my client, who may have been able to further tease apart the specific information by family name.

For more information on searching the 1921 Census, have a look at the section entitled Issues about this census and the database. There are some very helpful tips about navigating from image to image.

Happy searching to all who may be on a quest to find their own Royalton!


Julia McIntosh is a Reference Librarian in the Reference Services Division at Library and Archives Canada.

Pre-Confederation Land Patents issued by the Registrar General

By Rebecca Murray

Reference Services frequently receives requests about land patents in Canada. Here, we will focus on pre-Confederation land documents. Be sure to refer also to Crown land patents: Indian land sales for more information. The next post on land patents will focus on post-Confederation land patents.

What is a Land Patent?

Land patents are issued by the Crown to grant or confirm title to a portion of land. They represent the first title to land, and serve as proof that the land no longer belongs to the Crown.

How Do I Find a Land Patent?

As this is a challenging request even for practiced archivists, this post will guide you through an example of how to approach this type of research from home or while onsite at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

Step 1:

Start with the information you have: a date, a location, a person or organization (patentee). It is preferable to proceed with all three pieces of information (especially the date), but you can find the answer with one or more of the pieces of information.

Example:

  1. Date (specific or general): June 7, 1856
  2. Location (detailed or general): Lot 8, Range 3, east of Plank Road, Township of Seneca
  3. Patentee: David Patterson

Step 2:

With the patentee and date, or the date and location, you can look at the Indexes to Indian and Ordnance Land Patents (nominal [by name] and geographical indices) for the period 1845–1867 found in RG68, volume 911, microfilm reel M-1638. With the patentee and location, you can consult either the nominal or the geographical indices but without the date, you will have to perform a wider search using the General Index.

In this case, I found an entry for David Patterson in the Indexes to Indian and Ordnance Land Patents (RG68 volume 911, microfilm reel M-1638) and noted that the corresponding entry would be found in Liber EO (some libers are titled by letters rather than numbers), on folio 172.

Step 3:

Once you know the liber (register) and folio (page number), you need to find that liber within RG68 records. There are two options for continuing your search:

Web-Based Search

  1. Perform a search for “finding aid 68-2” in Enhanced Archives Search–Advanced. Beside the first box “Any Keyword,” click the down arrow and change to “Finding Aid Number” and enter “68-2” in the empty box to the right.
  2. Click SUBMIT.
  3. Filter results for a specific decade of interest and/or add another search term such as “land” in the second search box, or liber number (found in the file number field).

Many records for this period are available on digitized microfilm. Search Héritage to see if the reel has been digitized.

Onsite at LAC

When onsite at 395 Wellington St., you can use paper finding aid 68-2 to look up the liber number and find the corresponding volume and microfilm reel numbers. Microfilm reels are also available for self-serve consultation in room 354.

A black-and-white reproduction of an official Province of Canada document describing the exact location and size of the land grant.

Land patent confirming title to land granted to David Patterson in Haldimand County, dated June 8, 1856. (RG68 volume 231, file EO, page 172)

How to Use the Key to the General Index / the General Index

If your date does not fall in the 1845 to 1867 period, or you are unsure of the date, you can rely on the Key to the General Index for 1651–1867 to identify entries in the General Index related to the individual in question.

Paper copies of the Keys and General Indices for the pre-Confederation period are also available in the 2nd floor Reference Room of 395 Wellington St. Please keep in mind that the General Index applies to all types of documents produced by the Registrar General, not just land documents. Hence the importance of using the Key to the General Index to expedite your search.

For example, the Key to the General Index for the period 1841–1867 can be found in RG68 volume 896, which is available on microfilm reel C-2884. The Key to the General Index is organized by name. Find the individual in question and copy down each pair of numbers next to the name, as they will allow you to locate the relevant entries in the corresponding General Index. The pair of numbers is associated with two columns: the “No.” column indicating the “line number” and the “Folio” column indicating “page.” This allows you to jump directly to the correct page of the General Index and locate the corresponding entry. From this line, you get more information, namely the liber and folio numbers necessary to locate the patent itself. For example, in the image, take note of the first pair of numbers associated with the Rev. James Cochlan and wife: “4” and “680.”

A black-and-white reproduction of a nominal index with a few columns: Name, No., Folio, No., Folio, etc.

Excerpt from the Key to the General Index for 1651–1841 (RG68 volume 893), showing the liber (No.) and folio numbers associated with each name (RG 68, Volume 893 on Canadiana). Take note of the first pair of numbers associated with the Rev. James Cochlan and wife: “4” and “680.”

A black-and-white reproduction of a ledger with five columns: No., Lib, Folio, Date and Surrenders.

Excerpt from the General Index for (RG68 volumes 894 and 895), showing the entry on line 4 of page 680. The liber and folio for the document in question are “KM” and “6.”

After identifying the liber and folio numbers using the General Index you can review Step 3, from home or onsite, to determine the complete reference for the patent including the microfilm reel number.

It can be very challenging to navigate this research; please try it on your own, but do not hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance!


Rebecca Murray is a Reference Archivist in Reference Services at Library and Archives Canada.

New Books in the Genealogy Services Collection at 395 Wellington

We’re excited to announce genealogy publications acquired during the past year, which you can consult in the Genealogy and Family History Room located on the 3rd floor of the Library and Archives Canada building at 395 Wellington Street.

Check out the list below. After each title, you will find our call number, which will help you find the book on the shelves. The link to the AMICUS record provides additional information.

If you’re just starting out in genealogy, you should visit the Genealogy and Family History section of our website.

Church, cemetery and newspaper indexes

Répertoire des naissances, des mariages et des décès de la paroisse de Saint-Edouard, Péribonka de 1902 à 1941 et de la paroisse Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc, Lac Saint-Jean de 1921 à 1941 by the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean. CS88 QC41 P47 2016 (AMICUS 44659042)

Saint-Clément de Beauharnois : naissances et baptêmes, 1819-2009 by the Société du patrimoine de Sainte-Martine. CS88 QC43 B42 2016 (AMICUS 44846706)

Saint-Clément de Beauharnois : décès et sépultures, 1819-2000 by the Société du patrimoine de Sainte-Martine. CS88 QC43 B42 2016b (AMICUS 44846695)

Répertoire des pierres tombales du Lac Saint-Jean by the Société d’histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean. CS88 QC41 L316 2016 (AMICUS 44845901)

Val-Brillant (Saint-Pierre-du-Lac) : naissances, annotations, mariages et décès by a collaboration of Madeleine Bélanger, Jeannine Cummings, Marie-France Daigle, Micheline Dubé, Francine Gagnon, Louise Roy, Benoît Sinclair. CS88 QC47 V34 2016 (AMICUS 45024439)

Family histories

Les Otis en Matanie : de la Nouvelle-Angleterre en passant par Charlevoix by Claude Otis. CS90 O75 2016. (AMICUS 44776169)

Les Saint-Hilaire d’Amérique et leurs cousins Guérin, Merpaw, Monpas, Montpas, Morpaw, et Vidricaire by Guy Saint-Hilaire. CS90 S236 2016 (AMICUS 44847177)

Nos pionniers… : de leur histoire à la nôtre : Kedgwick 1915-2015 by Chloé Martineau and Guillaume Deschênes-Thériault. CS88 NB51 K42 2015 (AMICUS 44116893)

Beam/Boehm Family: Immigration to Canada 1788-2000 by Lawrence R. Beam. CS90 B3222 2010 (AMICUS 43565159)

Tout ou presque sur les Harvey du Québec by André Harvey. CS90 H328 2016 (AMICUS 45075239)

Évidences de communautés métisses autour de la baie des Chaleurs, d’hier à aujourd’hui by Victorin N. Mallet, PhD. CS88 NB51 A1 2016 (AMICUS 44846072)

Genealogy guides

Ontario municipal records: a beginner’s guide by Fraser Dunford and the Ontario Genealogical Society. CS88 ON3 D869 2015 (AMICUS 43564769)

Ontario land records: a beginner’s guide by Fraser Dunford and the Ontario Genealogical Society. CS88 ON3 D867 2015 (AMICUS 43564788)

Happy exploring!

A new way to search the Library and Archives Canada collections

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has just released its newest search tool, Collection SearchBETA, and is inviting you, as a member of the public, to try it out and provide your feedback. This new interface allows users to search through Library records and Archive records, including items from many of the different specialized databases at LAC, like the William Lyon Mackenzie King diaries; Film, Video and Sound database; and Cabinet Conclusions.

The new Collection SearchBETA enhances user experience by adding a ‘tab’ interface to explore the entire collection with just one search term or phrase. There are also some new features like the ability to download or print your search results. Simply navigate forward and back between the records you’ve found, and refine your search results by individual year.

A screen-capture of the new Collection SearchBETA interface, showing Archives results for the search term “vimy ridge.”

A screen-capture of the new Collection SearchBETA interface, showing Archives results for the search term “vimy ridge.”

Some important things to note about the new Collection SearchBETA:

  • This is a BETA website—there may be some technical issues as we continue to improve this new search interface—please continue to use our site and be patient as we make adjustments and improvements!
  • For now, the Collection SearchBETA is a simple keyword search interface. For advanced search capability and the ability to perform Boolean searches, you can continue to use our existing Advanced Library Search and Advanced Archives Search tools.
  • You can now search most of the items in our collections from one single location and we will continue to add to the list, but not everything is accessible via the Collection SearchBETA just yet. For an up-to-date list of what the Collection SearchBETA includes, check out  the about page.

Try it out and let us know what you think using the feedback link on the Collection SearchBETA home page—we’re eager to hear your thoughts so we can continue to improve this new tool.

Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, 1867 to 1925

Are you looking for documents offering credible information to use in research on the period between the late 19th century and the interwar years of the 20th century? You may find that the Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada contain much useful information.

History and organization

Sessional papers are among the oldest form of government serial records, and are part of the family of parliamentary publications that includes journals, debates, votes and proceedings. They have been published since pre-Confederation times and were formerly collected in the appendices to the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. A distinctive group of these papers, titled Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, exists for the period of 1867 to 1925. After this period the papers were issued separately.

Sessional papers are any documents formally presented in the House of Commons, filed with the Clerk, and tabled in the House during a given session of Parliament. Each report is recorded as a sessional paper and, as such, is open to public review. They are assigned a unique number in chronological order, known as the sessional paper number.

Sessional papers include the following:

  • Annual departmental reports
  • Reports of committees and task forces
  • Royal commission reports
  • Census returns
  • White papers (issued by the government as statements of policy) and Green papers (official documents sponsored by Ministers of the Crown to invite public comment and discussion on an issue prior to policy formulation)

Sessional papers are classified as either “Printed” (i.e., available for distribution) or “not Printed. Printed papers are collected and published by session in bound volumes that include the full text of the reports. They are proof of the government’s business and support government decisions. They also constitute a collection of data on a variety of topics related to the military, political, social and economic issues in the country at a specific point in time.

Each bound volume includes the text of papers for a given session of Parliament, separated into issues. The spine of each volume has the date along with the volume and issue numbers.

Inside each volume is an alphabetical list of papers as well as a numerical list arranged by sessional paper number. Some volumes have a limited subject index at the back of the final volume for a specific session of Parliament.

Finding a sessional paper

How do you find a sessional paper? If you know the date of the parliamentary session, the chronological arrangement of the volumes allows you to locate the paper by year of publication. The alphabetical and numerical lists at the front of each volume will provide the sessional paper number; you can then locate the paper by its number in the text of the volumes.

If you don’t know the date but you do know the subject, title or some keywords, you can access the comprehensive five-volume set of indexes to this collection of sessional papers: General index to the journals of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada and of the sessional papers of Parliament, AMICUS No. 568918.

The indexes provide the number and date of the sessional paper. However, many sessional papers are published separately, so even if you don’t know the date of a particular parliamentary session, you can conduct a search using AMICUS, the online catalogue of Library and Archives Canada.

Many of these sessional papers are now available online through the following databases:

Title page of the Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, 1870, Volume I, 1st Parliament, 3rd Session, from Early Canadiana Online.

Table of contents providing an alphabetical listing of the Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, Vol. III, 1870, from Early Canadiana Online.

Other formats of the sessional papers include microfilm. The following publication can provide additional information on sessional papers and other parliamentary proceedings:

Library and Archives Canada holds a complete collection of sessional papers (in print) for the period of 1867 to 1925. These are located on the 2nd floor at our 395 Wellington Street location in Ottawa. Should you need assistance in using these documents, please feel free to contact the LAC Reference Services.

Have you noticed changes in our Library Search?

We have made changes to our Library Search to improve your search experience. The interface remains largely the same. However, you may have noticed a few enhancements designed to provide you with more reliable, timely, pertinent, consistent and accurate results. These changes affect searches of all published materials at Library and Archives Canada that are fully catalogued and accessible for consultation or use.

Both the Basic and the Advanced Library Search have been affected by these changes.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for, use the AMICUS catalogue or the Ask Us a Question form.

Help us to improve the Library Search by submitting your comments, suggestions or ideas online.

Newly transcribed finding aids

To help users find material more easily, Library and Archives Canada has transcribed some paper-based finding aids that were previously available only in the Reference Room at 395 Wellington Street. Highlighted below are a few of the finding aids that are now available online. If you want to learn more about finding aids, see this three-part series, Discover finding aids!

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Administrative Records

  • Finding Aid 18-16—Volumes 2511-2647
    Created between 1868 and 1878, these records deal with the administrative expenses of the Frontier and Dominion Police and include some applications for the proposed Mounted Force for the North-West Territories.
  • Finding Aid 18-29—Accession 1985-86/574 boxes 1-32
    This accession consists of registry records pertaining to the administration of the RCMP for the years 1940 to 1970. One group of files concerns the organization, procedures and functions of the Force including headquarters, Criminal Investigation Branch, “S” Directorate, marine and aviation divisions as well as the various divisions across Canada. Another group of records deals with the communications system ranging from the use of car radios to telex equipment. Other subjects include the filing system, RCMP reserves, and management studies. Also included are nine service files for special constables and regular members.
  • Finding Aid 18-30—Accession 1985-86/612 boxes 1-42
    The files deal with the inter-departmental committee on the Marin Commission recommendations, study groups on police associations and sovereignty control, the RCMP College, the Museum, policing in the provinces, northern patrols, memorials and cairns as well as assistance to publishers. Created between 1939 and 1980, most of the files concern routine administrative matters such as personnel, training, courses, supplies, and the band.

Supreme Court Case Files

  • Finding Aid 125-3—Volumes 3009-4067, 4294-4295
    These case files contain the collection of records created by the appellants, the respondents, the Court’s staff and the Justices for all cases brought before the Court. The finding aid is a file list that indicates volume number, case number, name of appellant, name of respondent, and the year in which the case was filed by the Court. Over 6,000 additional file descriptions for 1980–1990 case files have been added to our database.

Canadian Hydrographic Service

  • Registry files—Finding Aid 139-1—Volumes 1-29
    These files were created between 1938 and 1965 and pertain to Canadian Notices to Mariners. The Canadian Hydrographic Service was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Mines and Resources (1936–1948) and the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys (1949–1966) at the time of the creation of these files. The content of these Notices to Mariners include changes made to hydrographic charts; correspondence concerning surveys conducted in different parts of the country; reports, various committees, hydrographic instruments and equipment, and liaison with international organizations on matters concerning oceanography; monthly reports from various vessels of the service, tidal station documentation, and current surveys.
  • Ships Logs—Finding Aid 139-1—Volumes 33-66 (MIKAN 181475)
    These files relate to ships’ logs of various vessels designated for hydrographic operations under the Marine Branch of the Department of Marine and Fisheries (1905–1910, 1922–1936), the Department of Naval Services (1910–1922), the Department of Mines and Resources (1936–1948), the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys (1949–1966) and the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (1966–1967). The logs contain a diurnal record of activities and observations aboard these vessels. The earlier logs provide succinct four- to eight-line descriptions of weather conditions and ship maintenance. The information in the later logs, for the 1950s and 1960s, pertains to weather, ship maintenance activities, the day’s itinerary, the vessels’ compass course, periodic positions expressed in longitude and latitude, swell and wind conditions, barometric pressure, atmospheric temperature, and visibility. Few details of actual hydrographic work are recorded.

How to Cite Archival Sources

Citing archival material in an academic paper for school or for publication can be a challenge. A complete set of references must contain all the details about each source used in your research so that each one can be relocated and examined in its descriptive context. That’s not always as straightforward as it sounds, especially with respect to archival material.

The style guide that your professor, editor, or publisher recommends is a good starting place. A number of style guides offer useful information on how to cite archival or manuscript material. Most of the questions we receive about citation styles relate to those followed by the American Psychological Association or APA and the Chicago Manual of Style.

If those guides aren’t helpful, seek advice from a reference librarian at a university library or browse its website for a condensed style guide, available on most university library sites. Local public libraries may also have hard copies or online versions of various style guides, so it’s worth checking their catalogues or speaking to their reference team.

If you still have questions about citing materials from Library and Archives Canada’s collection, consult the web page How to Cite Archival Sources, which has examples of footnotes and citations for several different types of archival material.

Always keep in mind, too, that the main point of a citation is to leave a trail that will lead future researchers back to the source you used in your research. And if you’re unsure about what information to include in your citation, remember that more is better than too little. It’s much easier to sift through too much information than it is to fill in the blanks!