I have been following a discussion thread on one of the boards concerning the Canada 1916 census. This census was on the FamiySearch Records site (http://pilot.familysearch.org) for a few days for testing and then was taken down due to contractual agreements. Several users were upset to see it go. After reading this discussion I decided to focus today's blog on online Canadian records.
Canada has a rich supply of online records for your genealogical research. I don't use the Canadian databases much since we only have one small line that settled in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia regions.
FamilySearch Records pilot site currently has two sets of Canadian records indexed. These include the Ontario Death Records (1869-1939 and 1939-1947 overseas deaths only) and the Quebec Catholic Parish Registers (1621-1900). Currently there are no images posted for the Ontario Death Records but the index is fairly complete. Also, the volunteers at FamilySearch Indexing (http://www.familysearchindexing.org) are working on parts of the 1861 census. These volunteers are doing an incredible job and just last month were able to add 40 million new records to the FamilySearch Records site. If you have some free time I would encourage you to volunteer and assist in the indexing of these records.
The Canadian Archives has a large number of records available. There are a couple of sites that I recommend when looking through the Canadian Archives.
The first is Archives Canada (http://www.archivescanada.ca). This site is the gateway for archival resources found in over 800 repositories throughout Canada and is maintained by the Canadian Council of Archives. This site allows you to search archival holdings across Canada, access Provincial and Territorial archive networks, view digitized photographs, maps and documents, and find where materials are located so you can view the actual records. My luck in finding digital records within this database has not been great but I suppose that is because I haven't used it very often to do research. It does give great details about the collections and their locations as well as telling you whether these colections are open to the public or have restricted access.
The Libaray and Archives Canada collection (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/) is another great site for researching Canadian roots. They have a searchable database called the Canadian Genealogy Center which provides access to many of the records that you will need during your research. You can select to search all records, only those that are online or only those that are not online. For example, I searched for Smith and had 37,000 results but only 8,000 of those were online records. You can also narrow your search by using a range of years or the record type. The site contains birth, death, and marriage records along with military, employment, immigration, census and land records. The images are high quality, easy to read and easy to copy to your own records. Another thing I like about this site is their Youth Corner. This part of the site is currently down but it is expected to be available by the end of the month. The goal here is to promote interaction between the generations.
That's My Family (http://www.thatsmyfamily.info/) is a site run by the National Archives of Quebec. This search tool leads to genealogy and family history databases hosted by federal, provincial and territorial archives and libraries as well as other partners. This is another very useful search tool since it covers a wide variety of records and has a fairly easy to use interface.
I hope that some of these sites prove useful in your research. And remember, it is cold in Canada during the winter, so curl up next to a nice warm fire with your laptop and do some research for your ancestors from the great white north. Eh?