A biography is a history of a person’s life. In it you may find a person’s birth, marriage, and death information and the names of parents, children, or other family members. Use the information carefully because some may be inaccurate.
Collective biographies, sometimes called biographical encyclopedias or dictionaries, have thousands of brief biographies, usually of prominent or well-known citizens. Others feature specific groups, such as artists or clergymen. Some significant ones, found in many large libraries in the United States and Canada, are:
Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966–. (FHL book 971 D3d.) Thirteen volumes cover the years 1000 to 1910. Each volume has biographies, in alphabetical order, of prominent people who lived or died within the time covered. For example, volume 7 covers persons who died between 1836 and 1850. Names are indexed for each volume. The cumulative index for the first 12 volumes is:
Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Index, volumes I to XII (FHL book 971 D3d Index.)
Biography and Genealogy Master Index, 2nd ed., multiple vols., annual with five-year cumulations. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1980–. (FHL book 016.92 G131; compact disc no. 11, pts. A and B.) This work indexes over seven million biographies of two million people, including world figures and United States and Canadian citizens.
Wallace, W. Stewart, ed. The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 4th ed. rev. W. A. McKay. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1978, reprint 1985. (FHL book 971 D3ww.) This is a useful one-volume biographical dictionary of prominent Canadians who died before 1976.
Who’s Who in Canada. London, Eng., or Toronto: various publishers, 1910–. (FHL book 971 D3w.) This work lists many prominent 20th-century Canadian citizens. The Family History Library has some recent issues; large libraries in Canada may have the complete series.
McMann, Evelyn de R. Canadian Who’s Who Index 1898–1984, Incorporating Canadian Men and Women of the Time. 1986. Reprint. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988. (FHL book 971 D32m.) Canadian Who’s Who . . . is different from Who’s Who in Canada. Most volumes of Canadian Who’s Who Index . . . have been reproduced on 309 microfiche in:
Canadian Who’s Who in Microfiche, 1898–1988. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985–89. (FHL fiche 6334537. Not available at Family History Centers.)
Canadian Men and Women of the Time. 2 vols. Toronto: William Briggs, 1898, 1912. (FHL book 971 D3cm; 1912 volume only on FHL microfilm 934811 item 1.) These two volumes are included in Canadian Who’s Who in Microfiche and in its index.
For additional collective biographies see the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
CANADA - BIOGRAPHY [PROVINCE] - BIOGRAPHY