With the hundreds of genealogy related web sites I have in my personal bookmarks to choose from I'm certain I've missed your favourite site. So leave me a message with the URL and why the site I've foolishly omitted is one of the best for Canadian research.
So, in no particular order, here is my top 10 list of Canadian web sites.
Library and Archives Canada
It seems that their web site has been undergoing revisions for so long that their welcome message of "we are currently redesigning our website" has become a permanent fixture but their content, if you can find it, can be invaluable. Regrettably their collections are sometimes hard to navigate but once you do figure it out what they do have is great. Some of their resources include:
- Free searchable images of the various Canadian censuses from 1825 to 1916
- Attestation and draft registration papers for the Canadian Expeditionary Force personnel from the Great War of 1914-1918. They are in the process of digitizing the service files and will be making them available for free on their web site. There are also digitized copies of the war diaries for Canadian units that fought in that war.
- For settlers in what later became Canada the land records collections can help track the migration of our ancestors.
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB)
This is my go to place for starting any New Brunswick research. The site is a great example of how an archive can freely share the records and history of their province without any fuss. It isn't flashy but as a researcher I don't want a dazzling appearance, I want functionality and I love free. Here you will find:
- Vital Statistics from Government Records (BMD) with births from 1808-1918 (a little spotty before 1898), marriages from 1847-1964, and deaths from 1815-1964 (like births the records before 1920 can be hit or miss).
- The birth, marriage, and death announcements transcriptions from New Brunswick newspapers from 1784-1896 created by the late Daniel F. Johnson.
- Place names of New Brunswick include not just a description of the location but also cadastral maps showing boundaries, lots, and land grantees.
- They have also created a searchable database from Wallace Hale's book Early New Brunswick Probate, 1785-1835. Another invaluable resource for learning more about those early settlers to what later became Canada.
Peel's Prairie Provinces
Many of our ancestors made it to the Prairie Provinces due to the allure of free bountiful land. The Peel's Prairie Provinces site has helped make the information needed to locate those settlers available to all. They have resources such as Western Canada newspapers, maps, and Henderson's town and city directories.
Olive Tree Genealogy
I don't use it as often as I probably should nowadays but it is still a place where I go when I am stumped and don't know where to look next. Lorine McGinnis Schulze has created a place where you can find over 1,900 page of free genealogy records.
Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections
John D. Reid''s blog is one I consider mandatory reading for not only highlighting what new collections are available but also what is happening in the world of genealogy and family history research.
Canadian Gravemarker Gallery
Sometimes only the dead can speak to you ... or at least only their grave markers. Although sometimes a challenge to search a common name this may be the only place you will find those grave markers pictures from cemeteries that may have been long forgotten.
British Columbia Vital Records
Initially the British Columbia Archives hosted this page but it has now been rolled under the British Columbia Museum. Images for the births (1854-1903), marriages (1872-1934), and deaths (1872-1991) of those in British Columbia can be found here. But if the image for a death registration is not available, don't forget to check out the "British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986" collection on FamilySearch.
Newfoundland's Grand Banks
As Canada's youngest province Newfoundland has also some of the richest history being a colony, a dominion and then a province. This site has created transcriptions of various directories along with census records going back to 1675. If your ancestor came to Newfoundland this is the site you need to use.
When I can't find a person in the 1901 or 1911 censuses of Canada due to possibly messed up transcriptions I come to this site. Here they have transcribed AND linked the people found in the 1901 and 1911 Canadian censuses. They are not just looking at linking census records but they have projects underway to make this place the first stop to locate the other records relating to the person.
When I've exhausted the usual sources of birth (baptism), marriage, death (funeral), census, and directory resources when doing research on Canadians I turn to Our Roots. They have made available searchable books on the histories of local communities within Canada. These local histories also can give an insight into the challenges faced when settling Canada.