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Canadian: Archival Centres
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The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to using archives in genealogical research, to examine the kinds of records which you will encounter, and to see what kinds of archives there are in Canada which can provide venues for genealogical researchers.

This is a gigantic topic, so some thought was given to a point of view which might help us enter it. As this course is given via the Internet and as websites may be the first and easiest contact which a genealogical researcher will have with an archive, we have used archival websites as a principal point of discussion regarding specific archives and kinds of archives, and as a way of getting to know the institutions involved. The website can be seen as a summary of the personality of the place, and this is how we have used it. We continue to stress that archive websites should not be ignored in research.

Examples of archives of various categories will be mentioned. It should be emphasized that the examples given are just that, examples. They are not meant to indicate ‘best’ (although they may be) and they cannot be exhaustive in any category, because there are simply too many archives in the country. Take the example given and then use the idea to search for similar archives which will help you.

Comparing this course to the others in the Canadian series, students may notice a certain amount of overlap. The Saskatchewan Homestead records, for example, may well also show up in a course on Saskatchewan research as well as a land records course. There are useful things to say on such a topic in each course and we can only hope a second or third encounter with a topic will help to imprint it on the student’s memory!

Many of the archives under discussion in the text have very long names, which may include people after whom the institution is named, the name of the larger institution of which the archives is part, or a government department. Although the full name will be given in the first instance, a shorter or familiar version of the archives’ name will be used for convenience later in the text.


Course Content

Module 1
Introduction to Modern Archives
• Some Terms & Abbreviations
 
Do We Still Need Archives?
 
Approaching the Archives
• Outside Arrangements
• Registration
• What Can You Take In?
• What Are the Rules?
• Talking to the Archivist
• Handling the Documents
• The Reference Interview with the Archivist
• Finding Aids
• Arrangement of Government Records
• Off-site Queries
• Reproduction Services & Copyright
• Websites
• Two Examples of Finding Aids
 

Module 2
National & Provincial Archives
 
Provincial Archives
• Newfoundland & Labrador
• Prince Edward Island
• Nova Scotia
• New Brunswick
• Québec
• Ontario
• Manitoba
• Saskatchewan
• Alberta
• British Columbia
• Yukon
• Northwest Territories
• Nunavut
 

Module 3
Local & University Archives
 
Finding Archives
• Local Archives
• University Archives
 

Module 4
Religious, Ethnic & Specialized Archives
 
Religious Archives
• Roman Catholic
• Anglican
• United Church
• Presbyterian
• Lutheran
• Quakers
• Baptist
• Mennonites & Amish
• Adventists
 
Archives of Other Religious Bodies
The Registers
Expectations of Religious Archives
 
Ethnic & Specialized Archives
• Hudson’s Bay Company Archives
• Glenbow Archives
• Ethnic Archives or Archival Collections
• Halls of Fame
• Institutional Archives
• Postal Archives
• Aboriginal Archives
 

Module 5
Using the Archival Records
 
Problems in the Archives
• Difficulties Interpreting Documents
• Locating Local Histories
• The Difficult Archivist
 
Specific Groups of Records
• Census
• Civil Registration Records
• Coroner's Records
• Wills & Probate
• Land Records
• Tax Records
• Immigration & Naturalization Records
• Military Records
• Court Records
• Specialized Legal Documents
• Maps
• School Records
• Voters Lists
• Other Non-Paper Archival Materials
• Special Collections
• Newspapers
• Diaries, Letters & Personal Papers
• Two Final Suggestions
 

Module 6
Looking at the Document: Are we seeing all that is there?
Summary
Bibliography
 
 

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