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Top Databases & Web Sites for Canadian Genealogy


If you're searching for Canadian ancestors online, these databases and Web sites are the best place to start. Best of all, many are free!

1. Library and Archives Canada: Canadian Genealogy Centre

Library and Archives Canada - Genealogy
Library and Archives Canada
Search for free in a variety of Canadian genealogy resources, including digitized census and passenger lists, land records, naturalization records, passport and other identity papers, and military records. Not all databases are included in the "Ancestors Search," so check out the complete list of available Canadian genealogy databases.

2. FamilySearch: Canadian Historical Records

From Crown land grants in British Columbia to notarial records in Quebec, FamilySearch features millions of digitized documents and transcribed records for Canadian researchers. Explore census, probate, naturalization, immigration, church, court and vital records—available records vary by province.

3. Ancestry.com / Ancestry.ca

Subscription site Ancestry.ca (Canadian records also available through a World Subscription at Ancestry.com) offers numerous databases containing a total of over 235 million records for Canadian genealogy including indexes to the 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1921 Canadian census, as well as many province-specific records. One of the largest of their Canadian databases is the Historic Drouin Collection, which contains 37 million French-Canadian names appearing in Quebec records spanning 346 years from 1621 to 1967. All records require a subscription to access, or sign up for a free trial.

4. Canada GenWeb

The various province and territory projects under the umbrella of Canada GenWeb offer access to transcribed records, including census records, cemeteries, vital records, land records, wills, and more. While there, don't miss the Canada GenWeb Archives, where you can access some of the contributed files in one location.

5. The Olive Tree Genealogy

Scroll down the page to find links to free transcriptions of Canadian genealogical records, including ships' passenger lists and Canadian muster rolls from the American Revolution and War of 1812. Transcribed records are also available for the provinces (especially Ontario), as well as on specific Canadian groups such as Loyalists, Palatines, Mennonites, Huguenots and Walloons, and the Mohawk Nation.

6. Automated Genealogy

Access free census indexes for the 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses of Canada, linked directly to an image of the original census page on the Web site of Library and Archives Canada. Transcription, proof reading, and linking of these census indexes is all done by volunteers and no registration or payment is required to view the index.

7. Early Canadiana Online

More than 2.7 million pages of Canada's printed heritage can be accessed online, covering the time of the first European settlers up to the early 20th century. Some of the scanned historical documents can be viewed for free, although a mebership is required to access the full collection (individual memberships available). Many libraries and universities throughout Canada offer subscriptions to their patrons, so check their first for free access.

8. Canadian Virtual Wall Memorial

Search this free registry for information about the graves and memorials of more than 116,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served valiantly and gave their lives for their country.

9. Immigrants to Canada

Marj Kohli has amassed a wonderful collection of record extracts documenting immigrants to Canada in the nineteenth century. This includes voyage accounts, lists of ships sailing to Canada, 1800s emigrant handbooks that document life for the Canadian immigrant and government immigration reports.

10. Historical Canadian Directories

Just so you don't miss this great resource at Library and Archives Canada, I'm highlighing it separately. The Historical Canadian Directories includes Canadian national, provincial and territorial, county, and city directories, primarily from the nineteeth and twentieth centuries. Full-text searching is available, with links to digitized images of the directory pages.

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