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AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum


Originally posted on genealogical. com newsletter

While not every U.S. resident is descended from Champlain's intrepid companions (anymore than he/she is descended from a Mayflower passenger), for many genealogy wayfarers, the journey includes a stop in Canada. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that, from the colonial period through the 1920s, tens of millions of emigrants from Great Britain and continental Europe landed in North America, many through Canadian ports.

For example, during the colonial wars for control of North America, Canadians such as the Acadian French of Nova Scotia were banished and compelled to take up new homes in places like New England and Louisiana. Conversely, following England's defeat in the American Revolution, thousands of people who were still loyal to the Crown fled to Canada, sometimes leaving patriot family members behind. During the 1840s and 1850s, many Famine-era Irish immigrants arrived at the port of St. John, New Brunswick, because the fare was cheaper. Some of these same people ultimately joined family members in the U.S. once they had accumulated the necessary funds. Not surprisingly, along the 3,000-mile peaceful border that separates the U.S. from its northern neighbor, there are innumerable families who share common ancestries as a result of their desire for greater economic, religious, or political freedom--in one country or the other.

If you are currently researching your Canadian ancestors, we have a wonderful array of resources available. The titles range from Angus Baxter's excellent how-to book, "In Search of Your Canadian Roots," to the massive "Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Genealogies" by George S. Brown. Scroll down to see a sampling of our Canadian publications.


While there is no single body of records that identifies all immigrants and settlers in Nova Scotia and Ontario before Confederation in 1867, the six books included on this CD comprise the largest pool of information on early Canadian settlers available. Together, they name more than 130,000 settlers from Ireland, Scotland, England, and colonial America, many of them Loyalists from disbanded regiments or pro-British refugees fleeing New York and New England. Based on the best primary and secondary sources available, these works contain a mix of data featuring, for each settler, name, occupation, residence, place of origin, age, family members, name of ship, date of arrival, military affiliation, and land grants. As a group, they form a virtual encyclopedia of early Nova Scotia and Ontario families.

IN SEARCH OF YOUR CANADIAN ROOTS. Third Edition (Temporarily out of print)

For both beginners and experienced researchers alike, this third edition gives common-sense tips on where to begin your research, how to work backward in time from the known to the unknown, how to test your facts and avoid common mistakes, and, ultimately, how to create a family tree. It discusses the great migrations of Scots, Irish, English, Germans, Huguenots, Ukrainians, and Jews to Canada; describes the records of the national archives in Ottawa; summarizes the holdings of the LDS Church relating to Canada; and explores the vast nationwide record sources such as census records and church registers. It also provides a province-by-province survey of genealogical sources--in effect, a step-by-step guide to the records and record repositories in each of the 10 provinces and the Yukon and Northwest territories.


Col. and Mrs. Leonard H. Smith labored for more than a decade to construct this vast index of heretofore widely scattered Nova Scotia immigrants from numerous archives in North America and abroad (Part 1); and from 450 articles in Nova Scotia periodicals (Part 2). This is easily the most comprehensive sourcebook on Nova Scotia immigrants ever published, and it is a great tool for New England ancestral research, whether the ancestor's origins are Scottish, Irish, English, German, or Loyalist.


Whereas the first volume (see above) identified immigrants to Nova Scotia who were named in manuscript sources and periodicals, this volume identifies about 11,500 immigrants reported in selected periodicals published outside Nova Scotia (Part 1) and selected published diaries and journals (Part 2).


This sourcebook contains official records of the early settlers of Upper Canada, or Ontario. The core of the work consists of two provisioning, or ration, lists for 1784 and 1786, which provide the name of the head of household, place of settlement, and statistical details of the family. Most of the settlers named in the records were from the American colonies, and a very substantial proportion were from New York, especially from the Albany area and the Mohawk Valley.


After the American Revolution, several thousand families came to settle in the western part of Quebec, later called Upper Canada, then Canada West, and today Ontario. These settlers were former members of American Loyalist regiments, discharged British and German servicemen, and some civilians and refugees. They were offered grants of 200 acres of land on condition that they take an oath of allegiance and remain loyal to the British regime.

Subsequently, thousands of settlers appeared before the magistrates in district courts throughout Upper Canada. The magistrates provided additional information in the records, which have been preserved in the National Archives of Canada and are usually called the District Loyalist Rolls of 1796. These rolls have been carefully transcribed for the first time by Dr. E. Keith Fitzgerald, who has supplemented the 4,000 entries with further data from his own research. Details supplied by the settlers, the magistrates, and Dr. Fitzgerald now provide a rich source of information on the early inhabitants of Ontario. Some entries show, for example, relationships, deaths, military service, maiden names of married women, and remarriage of widows and widowers.

IRISH EMIGRATION TO NEW ENGLAND Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849 (Temporarily out of print)

The Canadian port of Saint John, New Brunswick, was a magnet for Irish emigration during the decade that culminated in the Great Famine. A majority of these destitute Irish emigrants were required to take temporary refuge in the alms and work houses, hospitals, and asylums of Saint John before relocating to Boston or elsewhere in New England in order to rejoin their families. Mr. Daniel F. Johnson has compiled this surrogate "passenger list" of 7,000 persons of Irish birth from the records of alms houses, hospitals, parish houses, etc. This is a major contribution to the literature of Irish emigration to North America.

GENEALOGIST'S HANDBOOK for Upper Saint John Valley Research (Low in stock)

This impeccably prepared guidebook teaches us how to find ancestors on both the Maine and New Brunswick sides of the Upper Saint John River Valley, a region that ultimately became home to the indigenous Maliseets, Acadians, French-Canadians, Irish, a few Scots, and a few (mostly English) Loyalists. The extant records of the valley (found in both local and distant archives) extend from 1792 to the 20th century, and, following his historical introduction, Mr. George L. Findlen devotes the bulk of his narrative to an inventory of them. Separate chapters are devoted to each of the following record categories: church registers (probably the most valuable of all records), vital records, marriages, cemetery records, censuses, land records, will and probate documents, newspapers, as well as the various record repositories themselves.

GUIDE TO QUEBEC CATHOLIC PARISHES and Published Parish Marriage Records (Available February 5, 2008)

The bulk of this work consists of county-by-county lists of parishes within the Province of Quebec. All known Catholic parishes are listed to 1900. Each list gives the names of all the parishes within that county, arranged in order of formation, with the date of the oldest records for that parish. A reference letter and name after the parish indicate the compiler and publisher of a marriage register for that parish, or whether the marriages for that parish may be found in the important Loiselles Marriage Index.

For a complete list of our Canadian books and CDs, please access the following link:

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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