Take a summer road trip and discover your ancestors

Did you head out to visit your family this summer? Whether you were attending a family reunion, a wedding or an informal get-together, the time spent with
family may have started you thinking about your family history. Did you know that you can discover exciting facts and details about your family by visiting
the Genealogy and Family History pages of the Library and Archives Canada website?

If family history research is new to you, we’re here to help

Begin your search by looking up the following Web pages and use these helpful tips when preparing your quest in family history:

Next, gather the information that you already have in your possession. An attestation paper from the First World War, a marriage certificate, even family pictures can reveal
information about your ancestors.

Talk to your family members and ask questions such as the names of the children in your parents or grandparents families. Did they come to Canada as
immigrants? If so, from which country did they originate? Passenger lists and
their list name indexes can sometimes provide surprising details about a family arriving in Canada.

Now that you have the basics, what else do you need?

A copy of the records in your possession, some writing material (whether in the form of pen and paper or a laptop computer) and a digital camera, will
assist you in documenting your discoveries. Maps of the area where your ancestor was living are also useful in your family history research. For instance,
knowing precisely where your ancestor was living in 1911 or in 1916 (for example, in what county or district) will enable you to find him or her in the Census returns, which contain information such as the profession, date of birth and the siblings living in a given household.

Are you visiting relatives in Ottawa?

If so, visit our Genealogy Services room, located at 395 Wellington Street.
Ensure successful research by watching the video Orientation Services for Clients at 395 Wellington before you

Happy research and discoveries!

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

How to Search for Birth, Marriage and Death Records

Did you know that there are two sources for finding birth, marriage and death records?

From early times to the present, baptisms, marriages and burials have been recorded in church parish registers. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, provincial and territorial governments introduced the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths.

As civil registration is not a federal jurisdiction, Library and Archives Canada does not hold copies of birth, marriage and death certificates, but….

…help is at hand!

To learn about how to find these records from other sources, visit our pages on vital statistics: births, marriages and deaths.

Many genealogical societies and individuals have indexed parish registers and published the result of their work. These publications are called “Church Indexes” (known as “répertoires” in French-Canadian genealogy).  Most of the volumes are for marriages but also exist for baptisms and burials.

We hold many of these indexes; here’s how to find them in our collection:

Use AURORA to search not only our collection, but the holdings of libraries across Canada.

1. On the Basic Search screen, select “Title Keyword” from the drop-down menu.  Enter your search terms, such as a place name (province, town, township or county) plus a term for the kind of information you are looking for.


  • Trois-Rivières marriages or Trois-Rivières
  • mariages Edmonton cemeteries
  • Collingwood deaths

2. On the Basic Search screen, select “Subject Keyword” from the drop-down menu.  Enter your search term, such as a place name (province, town, township or county) and the word genealogy or genealogies or registers. Note that subject headings for each publication are in English and French, so you may use the language of your choice.


  • Saskatchewan genealogy
  • Russell genealogies
  • Niagara registers

Did you know?

Published material, such as books, may often be borrowed via interlibrary loan*. Simply provide the bibliographic citation, along with the AMICUS number, to your librarian, and they may request it from LAC.


(*) Update: End of Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Services


ILL services at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will end in December 2012. Users of LAC‘s current services should note the following dates:

  • November 13, 2012: End of loan requests from international libraries.
  • November 16, 2012: End of renewals. All items loaned after this date will be non-renewable.
  • December 11, 2012: End of loan requests, location searches, and ILL-related photocopying services.

LAC‘s ILL listserv (CANRES-L) and Canadian Library Gateway will also be archived in December 2012.

LAC will continue to facilitate interlibrary loan activities among other institutions through the ILL form in AMICUS, and through ongoing administration of Canadian Library Symbols.

Through our modernized service channels, LAC will emphasize increased digital access to high-demand content. LAC is working with Canada’s ILL user community in order to inform this approach to accessing the institution’s unique holdings.

For more information, please visit “Interlibrary Loan at Library and Archives Canada“.

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