Tips for aviation accident research, part 2

By Mathieu Sabourin

In our previous blog post on civilian aviation accidents, we covered the main search principles for finding files on this topic in our archives. We showed you that records could generally be found in four record groups:

  • Department of National Defence fonds: R112 (1923–1936)
  • Department of Transport fonds: R184 (1936–1984)
  • Canadian Aviation Safety Board fonds: R13086 (1984–1989)
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada fonds: R1009 (1990–present)

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the first two record groups so you can better focus your searches.

Department of National Defence fonds

After the First World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force served as a civilian airline for the government and was therefore responsible for investigating aircraft accidents. The Civil Aviation Branch was created for this purpose in 1923.

At the time, the Department used a subject-block numeric classification system. Blocks 1021 and 1100 (all the files starting with these numbers) were reserved for aviation accident records. For example:

Screenshot of the results of an archives search. A big red arrow indicates the reference to Block 1021.

Example of a file from Block 1021.

Continue reading

Lightkeepers Wanted!

Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, lighthouses were an integral part of life in Atlantic Canada, which was home to over 135 of them. It was the responsibility of the lightkeeper to keep the light burning no matter what, a commitment that often involved his entire family. Library and Archives Canada holds records of many lighthouses from Atlantic Canada at its Eastern Canada Regional Service Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

A lighthouse of particular interest is the Cape Bear lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Next door to the lighthouse is the Marconi wireless station, which received one of the first distress signals sent from the Titanic.

But who were the lightkeepers who kept the lights burning?

Continue reading