How to Locate Your Ancestor in Canada

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Canada Gotoarrow.png Locating Your Ancestor in Canada

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

This guide will give you suggestions on how to find where your ancestor lived in Canada. Many records in Canada are kept by the province. Some records may be kept by county, district, township, or town agencies. To find the records, you need to determine where your ancestor lived.

What You Are Looking For[edit | edit source]

The place where your ancestor lived so that you can use the records of that place to find more information about your ancestor, such as birth, marriage, and death information, and names of family members.

What You Need To Know[edit | edit source]

The more you know about your ancestor and his or her family, the easier it is to find them and to know if you found the right people. To effectively use the the sources given below, you need to know at least:

  • Your ancestor's name.
  • An approximate year when your ancestor married, died, or immigrated, or when he or she would have been recorded in records, such as a census.
  • The names of relatives, such as parents, children, or spouse.

Steps[edit | edit source]

The following 5 steps list sources which may give the province, county, district, or town where your ancestor lived.

Step 1. Check previous research.[edit | edit source]

Research done by other people may have the information you are seeking. For suggestions on previous research, including Internet sites, see Canada Previous Research.

If you do not find your ancestor in previous research, look for brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts. Often previous research on relatives gives information or clues about your ancestor as well, including where he or she lived.

Step 2. Check the following sources[edit | edit source]

Check these sources for the province, county, district, township, or town where your ancestor lived. Be sure to look for your ancestor and family members.

  • Major indexes, especially census indexes, are great tools for locating ancestors. There may also be indexes to biographies, land records, military records, probate records, and tax records for Canada or one of the provinces.
  • Periodical Source Index (PERSI) lists records (by place and surname) that were published in over 5,000 genealogical magazines or periodicals. This resource should not be overlooked. It is available on the Internet through ($) and HeritageQuestOnline ($). When you are at the Family History Library, click here.
  • Land records
  • Marriage indexes
  • Probate indexes

Step 3. To learn where your ancestor lived previously...[edit | edit source]

Check the following for the place where you know your ancestor lived. Locate known or possible relatives (people with the same surname). Even if your ancestor moved away, relatives and in-laws probably stayed in the area.

These records might mention where your ancestor lived before coming to this place. The words in parentheses ( ) indicate whether to search for township, town, county, district, province, or national records.

  • Land records (province).
  • Church records (township or town).
  • Obituaries (township, town, district, or county).
  • Public or town records (township or town).
  • Court records (township, town, county, district, or province).
  • Census for 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 (province or Canada).
  • Earlier censuses, if available (township, town, or province).
  • Biographies (town, township, or province).
  • Histories (town, township, or province).
  • Genealogies (town, township, or province).

Step 4. Find information about the relatives of your ancestor.[edit | edit source]

Use the sources in steps 1 through 4 to find where the following people lived. Your ancestor may have lived with or near them. Also check where they were born and married, since it is possible your ancestor was there:

  • Children
  • Brothers and sisters
  • In-laws
  • Associates, and neighbors

You may be able to find something about a relative which could lead to information about your ancestor.

Your ancestors probably moved with either relatives, friends, or neighbors. Learning about these people and where they lived may lead you to information about your ancestors. For further information on this concept, see Your Ancestor Had A FAN Club.

Step 5. Check places where other events happened.[edit | edit source]

If you know where your ancestor was married, check records of the marriage place, such as church or vital records, for birth information for your ancestor and his or her children.

If you know where your ancestor was born, check records of the birth place, such as church or vital records, for marriage information for your ancestor and his or her brothers and sisters.

In addition to records mentioned in the previous steps, rhe following records may be helpful:

  • Histories
  • Newspapers
  • Church
  • Cemetery
  • Land
  • Probate