The Canadian Genealogy Centre, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is provided by Library and Archives Canada to make searching for Canadian ancestors much easier. It is free to use and has a wide variety of information available. You can access it through this site: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/index-e.html
There are several sections and I highly recommend to anyone who is starting their research to have a look at the “How to begin” section. You can also use the “Ancestors Search” function to search all of the indexed databases available at the CGC. However, not everything is indexed yet and sometimes you will just need to search as you would with microfilm. This is true of the new addition, the Form 30A which documents arrivals by ship between the years 1919-1924. These forms were to replace the large manifests that had previously served as records of arrival. The advantage of having each passenger fill out a form is that when they were filmed, they could be arranged in rough alphabetical order. This makes browsing a lot easier than with the manifests. The cards also included more information than the manifests, including, sometimes, a place of birth. Ancestry has indexed these records and you can search them through the library’s subscription to Ancestry LE (only in a library branch, though). You can also browse by name ranges. You can also access the images through AncestryLE but the images on the Canadian Genealogy Centre website seem clearer. Keep in mind that the form 30A was in official use from 1921 to 1924 but that some ports started using it in 1919 and some not until 1922. Also keep in mind that passengers continuing to the US were not required to fill in a card. Sometimes there is overlap and people appear in the form 30A and also in the passenger lists.
15th Light Horse Band
Postcards from the Past, PC 1264
Another addition to the databases in the Canadian Genealogy Centre is service records for soldiers, nurses and chaplains who served in the First World War. These records, when they are uploaded, are attached to the attestation papers that were previously available on the “Soldiers of the First World War” database. They are being added in an “on demand” fashion which means that if someone requests access to the records, once they are digitized they are uploaded to the database. This is a fairly common way for archives to enhance their databases within the constraints of budget and staffing. I did some poking around in the database and found some very interesting stuff. The young gentleman whose record I checked had been treated in hospital for a fairly personal problem I’m not sure he would have wanted his family to know about but, hey, all is fodder for the genealogist, right? The Soldiers of the First World War database is also linked to Ancestry LE but only the attestation papers appear. So, if you find someone in Ancestry in the Soldiers database, have a look at the Library and Archives Canada website to see if there is more information.
One more addition to the Canadian Genealogy Centre website that might be of interest is the list of headings for all of the Canadian censuses (censi?) from 1851 on. This can be accessed under the heading “Most Requested Records” by clicking on Census or by clicking on “What to Search” in the blue bar on the left of the page.
So, keep the Canadian Genealogy Centre top of mind for Canadian research. They are always adding guides (check out the new guides for Ukrainian, Finnish and German researchers – click on What to Search: Topics> Ethno-Cultural and Aboriginal Groups) and new databases. This is THE place to start for beginning researchers and a good place to check for new and interesting databases.
Remember, if you have any questions about genealogy, we’re always ready to help. You can call us at 403-260-2692 or email us at hum1@calgarypubliclibrary or come down and talk to us. We have our genealogy Saturdays on the last Saturday of the month with coaches from Alberta Family Histories Society providing one-on-one coaching from 10-noon and the Genealogy Meet-up from 2-4 all at the Central Library on the 4th floor. We also like to get comments and suggestions from our readers so please let us know what you think or what suggestions you have for future posts. To leave a comment, click on the title of the article and scroll down the page. There is a comments box there and we would love to hear from you.