On Day 13 of Family History Month, search free databases at Library and Archives Canada.
Library and Archives Canada, LAC, is the National Library and National Archive of Canada. The library portion has an amazing collection of Canadian publications because publishers are required by law to deposit a copy of anything published in Canada. The archive portion collects Canadian government records of historical value and also stores government records when a government department no longer needs them. The archive also accepts private collections of national significance.
Before you rush off to the LAC for your research, I’m going to give you my main tip for the LAC right here. When you select any database from the above-menu you’ll be brought to that collection’s guide page. I’m always like a deer in the headlights, frozen, panicked, wondering where the search window is. It’s always on the menu in the upper left-hand corner (see below).
Select, “Search: 1851 Census” and you’ll be brought to the Search page (see below).
All online databases at the LAC are free of charge. There are multiple ways to search at LAC including:
ARCHIVE Search searches archival collections (as a body, not by page) OR archival records can be found using ArchivesCanada.ca
AVITUS, a Latin word meaning “from ancestors” is the online Library catalog search program where you can “access databases, catalogues and Web sites regarding genealogical resources and collections all over Canada.”
AMICUS Search – searches libraries across Canada
ANCESTORS Search – shows you genealogical databases you can individually select and search
Canada has rich genealogy records because they’ve had many immigrant populations including English, Irish, Scottish, American (including American Revolutionary War refugees), German, Ukrainian, Icelandic, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants. Canada was often the country immigrants arrived at before they crossed into the United States. There were no Canadian border patrols before 1908, though some United States immigration records may exist for these border crossings.
LAC has many searchable databases and guides for how to search these databases. Be sure to use the guides to understand what the collections will and won’t contain. Many databases are indexed and you can search them by name.
I have Canadian ancestors including immigrants from Ireland and Wales but also some Loyalist refugees (Americans who sided with England during the Revolutionary War and later moved to Canada). My favorite collections at LAC are ones where I’ve found my relatives.
The 1851 Census
and Upper Canada Land Records
They’ve added collections since I last searched here. Take a look below and see what you can find in their databases! Best in your searches, whether they’re fee or free.
Births, Marriages and Deaths
Census and Enumerations
Immigration and Citizenship