Today is Constitution Day: the 228th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The National Archives is celebrating with free programs and a special Family Day.
Most of us won’t be able to attend in person, but the National Archives will be webcasting several of its free public programs live on the National Archives YouTube Channel. These include:
Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document. Thursday, September 17, 12 pm. “Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) tells dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensable provisions and explains why some of today’s issues are the direct result of how the courts, Congress, and the executive branch have minimized or ignored them. A book signing will follow the program.”
The Young Madisons: Why a New Generation Is Standing Up for the Constitution. Thursday, September 17, 7 pm. “A rising generation of civic leaders, shaped by the digital revolution, is reaffirming its commitment to the rights-based principles of the U.S. Constitution. The ninth annual State of the Constitution Lecture at the National Archives…focuses on the voices of young leaders in the spheres of policy, governance, and citizen engagement who are shaping America’s future as a constitutional democracy.”
The Constitution: An Introduction. Wednesday, September 30, 12 pm. “Practically every aspect of American life is shaped by the Constitution….Yet most of us know surprisingly little about the Constitution itself. In his book The Constitution, professor Michael S. Paulsen, one of the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional interpretation, has written a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution’s history and meaning in clear, accessible terms, and provides us with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues.”
More on the U.S. Constitution from the National Archives:
Will you be in town that day? Here’s what you should know:
- The original U.S. Constitution is on permanent display in the National Archives. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. due to a morning naturalization ceremony (which is not open to the public).
- Programs will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater, unless otherwise noted. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.
- FAMILY DAY: Between 1-4 pm in the Boeing Learning center there will be special hands-on activities for families and children.
- Advance registration is required for the free program “The Young Madisons.”
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A video archive of oral history interviews about African-American life, history and culture and struggles and achievements of the black experience in the United States has been donated to the Library of Congress.
It’s called the HistoryMakers archive, and it’s the single largest archival project of its kind since the WPA recordings of former slaves in the 1930s. According to a press release, “The collection includes 9,000 hours of content that includes 14,000 analog tapes, 3,000 DVDs, 6,000 born-digital files, 70,000 paper documents and digital files and more than 30,000 digital photographs.”
“The collection comprises 2,600 videotaped interviews with African-Americans in 39 states, averaging three to six hours in length. The videos are grouped by 15 different subject areas ranging from science, politics and the military to sports, music and entertainment.”
“The HistoryMakers archive provides invaluable first-person accounts of both well-known and unsung African-Americans, detailing their hopes, dreams and accomplishments—often in the face of adversity,” said James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. “This culturally important collection is a rich and diverse resource for scholars, teachers, students and documentarians seeking a more complete record of our nation’s history and its people.”
“The collection is one of the most well-documented and organized audiovisual collections that the Library of Congress has ever acquired,” said Mike Mashon, head of the Library’s Moving Image Section. “It is also one of the first born-digital collections accepted into our nation’s repository.”
This African American oral history archive was donated so it would be preserved and accessible to generations yet to come. However, this doesn’t mean the HistoryMakers organization is done gathering stories. According to the press release, “oral histories are continually being added to the growing archive. The oldest person interviewed was Louisiana Hines, who passed away in 2013 at 114. She was one of the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” workers during War World II. One of the youngest is a prima ballerina, Ayisha McMillan, who was 29 at the time of her interview.”
Visit the HistoryMakers Archive here.
Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian national archive, holds original passenger arrival records. You can search a massive index to them on their website for free.
Canadian Passenger Arrival Lists: The Good and Bad News
There’s good news and bad news for those searching for Canadian passenger arrival lists.
The Bad News:
You won’t find a lot of Canadian passenger arrival lists before 1865. There are no comprehensive nominal lists of immigrants arriving prior to 1865 in Canada according to the Library and Archives Canada. Unfortunately, those lists didn’t generally survive.
Those that have can be scattered amongst various French and British collections.
“Les passagers du Saint-André : la recrue de 1659” is among the French resources at the Library and Archives Canada.
Visit the Passenger Lists page at the Library and Archives Canada here for details lists, years and microfilm numbers.
You will be able to find a lot of records after 1865.
And the news gets even better. These records can easily be found online!
“The passenger lists are the sole surviving official records of the arrival of the majority of people accepted as immigrants in Canada,” says a Library Archives Canada webpage. “The passenger list is a list of immigrants arriving at an official port of entry on a particular ship on a given date.
Newspaper advertising was used to attract immigrants to Canada
Information Found in Canadian Passenger Lists
Generally speaking, each manifest provides the following information:
- the name of the ship
- date(s) of departure and arrival in Canada
- professions or occupations
The earlier lists aren’t always so detailed. But in some cases, other lists have information about the travelers’:
- previous travels to Canada
- family members
- and how much they carried in their wallets.
Where to Search for Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1922
Start your search for free in the Passenger Lists, 1865-1922 collection at the Library and Archives Canada website.
The city of Quebec, the major arrival port for many years, is covered for nearly that entire time span.
Quebec: Major Arrival Port in Canada
If you find it easier to search for these records in genealogy websites (so you can attach them to individuals in your tree), or if you’re specifically looking for passengers whose final destination was the U.S., check out these databases:
Canadian Passenger lists, 1881-1922 at FamilySearch.
The database includes records for Canadian ports:
- Quebec City,
- St. John,
- North Sydney,
- U.S. ports for passengers who reported Canada as their final destination.
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 at Ancestry.
Quebec ports are included for these time periods:
- May 1865–Jun 1908,
- Jun 1919–Jul 1921,
- Apr 1925–Nov 1935.
U.S., Passenger and Crew Lists for U.S.-Bound Vessels Arriving in Canada, 1912-1939 and 1953-1962 at Ancestry.
Nearly 100,000 records of travelers to the U.S. via Canada are recorded for the ports of:
- Saint John
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- British Columbia
- British Columbia
Mixed group immigrants, Quebec
More Great Canada Genealogy Resources
We have several more resources to assist you in your Canadian family history research.
- Click here to learn why Quebec Church Records are a Great Place to Look for Ancestors.
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, Basse-Ville (Lower Town). Wikimedia Commons image; click to view.