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Canadian Research


Large Map of Canada There is a long tradition of migration between all parts of the UK and Canada.

Through our associate offices in Ontario Sovereign Ancestry can offer the same comprehensive research service clients have come to expect.

Below is some background information which we hope will be helpful to those considering research in Canada.


Civil Registration:


When searching for Births, Deaths and Marriages in Canada, it is necessary to first know the Province where the event occurred.

Civil Registrations vary widely for each of the 13 provinces:

  • Alberta  Civil Registration records are available from 1898.
  • British Columbia  there are only complete registrations from 1872.
  • Manitoba holds complete registrations from 1882.
  • New Brunswick start at 1888.
  • Newfoundland & Labrador begin at 1892.
  • Northwest Territories start only at 1925.
  • Nova Scotia holdings are impressive beginning at 1864.
  • Nunavut is a newly formed Province; therefore their holdings begin April 1, 1999.
    Anything prior to this date are held in Northwest Territories.
  • Ontario registrations began in July of 1869.
  • Prince Edward Island registrations start in 1906.
  • Quebec has the most impressive holdings of all of the Provinces starting in 1621.
  • Saskatchewan began in 1895.
  • Yukon Territory registrations began in 1898 but are incomplete and sporadic up until the 1940s.


Ecclesiastical Records:

Ecclesiastical records held at a local level will have to be consulted for earlier records. Survival of Church records varies enormously and usually takes more time to locate, access and search. Some churches hold their own parish registers, some are in other research facilities like libraries while others are held and managed by a central location.

Populations Censuses:

For most provinces, the census returns of 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906 and 1911 are extant and detail the names of each person in the household, ages, gender, birthplace, religion, racial or ethnic origin, occupation and marital status.

The 1901 and 1911 returns also include dates of birth and year of immigration.

Returns of Censuses before 1851 are rarely complete for most areas in Canada and they only list the heads of household. It should be noted that even the 1851 returns are not complete.

The 1940 National Registration is another useful genealogical tool to use for more recent research as the 1911 Census is the last publicly available census at the current time.

The National Registration included ALL adults (over 16 yrs of age) living in Canada. This questionnaire was conducted under the authority of National Resources Mobilization Act and the War Measures Act to permit the mobilization of all the human and material resources of the nation for the purpose of the defense and security of Canada.


Unfortunately there are no comprehensive lists of immigrants arriving in Canada before 1865. For immigration records after 1865 we have to know the port of arrival as well as the date in order to instigate a such of these records. The records are on microfilm and immigration records are probably the most difficult and time consuming record to work with.

There are a some very good databases containing Passenger Lists available that can be consulted but this all depends on the year, the location and many other variables such as where the individual came from.

Military Records:

The National Archives of Canada holds excellent records for soldiers who served in the First World War. (Canadian Expeditionary Force). Records from the Second World War are not as straightforward but they are available.


Additional Material:

Of course there are numerous other records available including:

Probate Records, Border Entry Records, City Directories, Electoral Registers, Cemetery Records, Loyalist Resources, Newspapers etc.

Research can be carried out in Ottawa which houses The National Library and Archives of Canada.

Day trips can be organised to archives in the following counties:

Stormont, Glengarry & Dundas Co., Leeds & Grenville Co., Russell Co., Carleton Co., and Upper New York State.

We would be delighted to review what data you have and advise on the most suitable course for you research.