Roots to the Past

Diana Tibert
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Genealogy Guides by Library and Archives Canada

I always say, you learn something new every day. Today, I learned how to kill ants with boiling water, but that doesn't have anything to do with genealogy. After the ants were taken care of, I began reading the "Tracing Your Ancestors in Canada" guide I printed from the Library and Archives Canada website ( and learned something else I didn't know.

Because of the vast border we share with the United States, I realize that it was impossible for early governments to control the movement of people across it. Borders were imaginary lines that sometimes changed from decade to decade. What I didn't know was when officials began keeping records for those immigrating to Canada from the U.S. On page 14 of the guide, it states border entry records began in April, 1908. Records up until 1935 are available to the public. An index has been completed for the last 10 years only.

If you are just beginning to research your family tree, the guide is a great way to discover the resources available through Library and Archives of Canada. If you've been researching for years, you might still want to browse the guide to see if a new database or resource has come available. When it comes to many government records, a certain time period must pass before documents are released to the public.

The guide gives an overall view of the resources available such as birth, marriage, death and divorce records, marriage bonds, census records, immigration records (before 1865), ships' passenger lists (1865-1935), Immigrants from the Russian Empire records, 1940 National Registration, military records, land records and information on adoption, cemeteries and wills.

The guides provide website links and/or contact information for sources outside of Canada. For example, the British Forces that were stationed in Canada between 1763 and 1871 are available through the National Archives of the United Kingdom (, formerly known as Public Record Office, in the War Office and Admiralty Series.

Contact information for Lirbary and Archives of Canada is included in the guide, as well as tips to help make your first visit a productive one. If you can't personally visit the facility in Ottawa, a request for microfilm and published material can be made on your behalf by a local library or archives.

"Tracing Your Ancestors in Canada" is one of four guides available through the website for downloading. The others include "Researching Your Aboriginal Ancestry at Library and Archives Canada," "Reference Sources for Canadian Genealogy," "All in the Family" and "Sources for American Genealogical Research."

Printed guides can also be ordered free of charge. Write to Canadian Genealogy Centre, Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0N4 or call toll-free: 1-866-578-7777.

The What to Search Topics section on the website contains more extensive information and is more current than the printed guides.

Researcher's File

In search of Hartigan family members with Newfoundland heritage, specifically from the Placentia area. Many Hartigans left Newfoundland for Nova Scotia in the late 1800s to early 1900s. If you have a connection, I would like to hear from you. Contact: David J. Hartigan, 11 Maplecroft Road, Canton, MA 02021; email:

Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living in Milford. Submit a query. It's free!: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS, B0N 1Y0; email:

Organizations: Library and Archives Canada, Russian Empire, National Archives Public Record Office Admiralty Series Canadian Genealogy Centre

Geographic location: Canada, United States, Ottawa Newfoundland United Kingdom Nova Scotia Milford 395 Wellington Street Placentia 11 Maplecroft Road Hants County

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