Start Your Canadian Genealogy Research: Library and Archives Canada

Jump start your Canadian genealogy research and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday! Here are tips for you to start your Canadian genealogy research. Already started? Take it to the next level with resources at Library and Archives Canada.

Canadian genealogy tips

Canadian genealogy researchCanada is celebrating 150 years of nationhood in 2017! To join the party, I invited Claire Banton from Library and Archives Canada to the Genealogy Gems podcast episode 199. We had a great chat about Canada’s history and its planned year-long celebration. And of course, our conversation quickly turned to tips for exploring your Canadian roots at Library and Archives Canada.

Quick Tips for Canadian Genealogy Research

You can listen to our entire conversation for free in episode 199, but here are some quick take-away tips:

research Canadian genealogy

Claire Banton obtained her Masters of Library and Information Studies degree in 2006. She has worked in Reference Services at Library and Archives Canada for 10 years, where she has enjoyed learning something new every day. She is currently Chief, Orientation Services, where she works with an awesome team who help people search for information. She loves being an information detective and helping people overcome their research challenges.

1. Library and Archives Canada is very different from the average library.
It is both a national library (search the library catalog here) and a national archive (search the archival catalog here). And you don’t even have to have an account to search.

2. Start with the LAC website genealogy resources page whether you plan to visit in person or not.
You’ll find loads of free databases and some digitized records that haven’t been indexed yet, but are ripe for browsing. The topics page will tell you more about what is available for Canadian genealogy.

3. Familiarize yourself with the history of border crossings.
There was no border control from the US to Canada prior to 1908, so that means there are no Canadian records of earlier crossings. However, there is a database containing an index of aliens and citizens crossing into the U.S. from Canada via various ports of entry along the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1956 at FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com.

4. Call LAC directly for quick Canadian genealogy answers.
Schedule a Skype call with a genealogy expert to get a more in depth answer. (This is awesome – well done LAC!) Set the expert up for success and get the most out of your call by providing background information ahead of time.

Click here to explore (and join) Canada’s 150th birthday celebration!

More Canadian Genealogy Tips

Search Canadian Passenger Lists for FREE at Library and Archives Canada

Here’s Why Quebec Church Records are a Great Place to Look for Ancestors 

Canadiana: Canadian Digital Archive and Portal to the Past

Family History Episode 33: Organize Your Genealogy Files, Part 2

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast
with Lisa Louise Cooke
Republished May 27, 2014

Listen to the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke. It’s a great series for learning the research ropes and well as refreshing your skills.

https://lisalouisecooke.com/familyhistorypodcast/audio/fh33.mp3

Download the Show Notes for this Episode

Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-09. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.

Episode 33: Organize Your Genealogy Files, Part 2

In our last episode I shared how I went from disorganized procrastinator to proactive organizer after a few hard knocks. I hope you will agree now that organization doesn’t have to come naturally: it can be learned and practiced!

I also introduced you to a system that I developed about a decade ago, and have leaned on ever since to keep my computer’s hard drive organized as I have added hundreds if not thousands of source documents to it as I went about my genealogy research. Even now I can retrieve exactly the document I need quickly and easily…and you will be able to as well!

In this episode I’m going to pick up where we left off, at the GENEALOGY folder on our C: drive. So fire up your computer and rev up that mouse because we have some organizing to do!

Create the File Folders

Today it’s back to our computer’s hard drive. Open Windows Explorer. Now using your mouse you need to navigate your way to your C drive.

This system is going to be based on the surnames in your family tree. I currently have 32 surname folders on my computer. Start by creating about a dozen of the surnames folders that you tend to spend the most time on. Don’t worry about creating a folder for every surname right now. Down the road when you find a record for a surname that you don’t have a folder for you can just create the folder right then and there.

Now click on one of the surname folders that you know you have digital records for – now we’re going to create folders for each of the major categories of records that you may come across.

I’ve made a half dozen surname folders for the surnames I work on the most, and now I’m going to set up folders in the surname folder for all the different kinds of records I have.

And these folders really follow along with so many of the topics we’ve covered here on the podcast. Examples of record folders are Births, Deaths, Census, Marriages, Land, Military, Newspapers, Occupation, Wills & Estates.

So here’s what the folder structure looks like:

C: – GENEALOGY

– BILLS TREE

– LISAS TREE

– BURKETT

– BIRTHS

– CENSUS

– DEATHS

– LAND

– LOCATIONS

– MARRIAGE

– MILITARY

– NEWSPAPER

– OCCUPATIONS

– WILLS & ESTATES

– NIKOLOWSKI

– SPORAN

So now that the initial Burkett folders are set up, and I say initial because again I’ll be adding more as I do my research and find new types of records, I’m now going to set up the same 9 files in the other surname folders I created.

Name Your Genealogy Files

Once you have these initial records folders created within each of your first surname folders it’s time to start filing your records.

File Naming Conventions: “1920 Russell Springfield OH”  or “SOURCE 721 1920 Russell Springfield OH”

If you have digital records sitting in a folder or on your C drive or even on your computer’s desk top, now’s the time to file them in their appropriate folders. File them all now and you’ll very quickly get the knack for where things go. If you come across a record type that we haven’t created a folder for yet, go ahead and create it. But just be sure that it doesn’t fall under one of the other categories.

I strongly recommend creating a LOCATIONS folder in your GENEALOGY folder. Inside the LOCATIONS folder you would then create folders for each major location where ancestors with that surname would have lived.

If I had lots of location records for several different counties, I might create county folders. So I file all the maps, postcards, county histories and other information about Ohio in the Ohio folder, and the same goes for Indiana and California. Down the road if it turns out you have a really large number of documents, or you start finding relatives in other counties, you can always create county folders, or more detailed records folder and then file the documents accordingly.

Filing Photographs

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and have found that what works best for me is NOT to include photos in these files. There are genealogical RECORDS files, and records are not the same as photos.

Filing Structure:

C: – GENEALOGY

– PHOTOS

– BILLS FAMILY

– LISA FAMILY

– BURKETT

– CHARLES AND ALFREDA BURKETT

1940_Alfreda_Louise.jpg

– CHARLES AND ELLEN BURKETTE

– CONOVER AND VIOLA BURKET

Things can get very confusing very quickly with marriages and maiden names and all that. But this system addresses that in a way that’s easy to remember. It’s based on how the census works. Census records are filed by head of household, and that’s what I do for photographs. I usually include the husband and wife’s name in my folder name because often sons are named after fathers like in the case of my Burketts, and also there can be second marriages and so you’d have a folder for the ancestor and their first spouse and then that same ancestor and their second spouse.

I really like to think in terms of families, because in the end we aren’t researching an individual ancestor all by themselves. Rather we are researching an ancestor within the context of his familial relationships. And filing in this manner keeps that at the forefront of our thinking.

Photos are filed by family under the head of the household. Both male and female ancestors are filed within their parent’s folders prior to marriage, and in their own family folder under the family surname after marriage. You may occasionally have photos with several families in them with different surnames. But often times they are taken at a family’s home. And in that case I file them under the family who’s home they were taken. You can always file a copy under the other families as well if you like. I’m not trying to dictate every single possibility here, but rather give you a process and system that works for the majority of your needs, but that is customizable based on your specific needs.

Now you may also be wondering how this system for photos fits in with geo-tagging photos. I covered geo-tagging in Genealogy Gems Premium episode 25. For more information on how to become a Premium member, click here.

Well, we have covered a lot of ground in this episode, and I hope that will give this hard drive filing system a try!

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 189: Relative Race and More

GGP 189 Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 189The free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 189 is published, with an exclusive interview with stars of Relative Race and more.

The newest episode of the Genealogy Gems Podcast is published and ready for your listening pleasure! Two stars of the new BYUtv show Relative Race join host Lisa Louise Cooke to talk about their experiences criss-crossing the U.S. to meet their AncestryDNA matches.

Here are some more highlights from Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 189:

  • Irish research tips–and tons of new Irish records online–in honor of St. Patrick’s Day this month;
  • 3 reasons to test your DNA for genealogy, from Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard;
  • an excerpt from the new Genealogy Gems Book Club interview;
  • emails from several listeners offering inspiration and tips;
  • and news from the genealogy world, including databases on runaway slaves (in the U.S. and Britain) and an updated MyHeritage search technology.

I’m a fan of “genealogy TV,” and it’s fun to hear behind-the-scenes feedback from stars of Relative Race. This show’s approach–connecting everyday couples with genetic matches–puts faces to our DNA matches in a fresh and personal way. I’m not hoping to camp on my genetic matches’ lawns anytime soon, but I do sometimes wish I could knock on the doors of some (“please respond!”). Another favorite take-away from this episode was a tip from Matt in Missouri, who wrote in with a creative approach for connecting with relatives through Find A Grave.

Remember, this and all episodes of the Genealogy Gems podcast are FREE to listen to. Click here for FAQ on podcasts and how to listen on your computer or via your favorite mobile device. Click here for a list of past episodes you may have missed. Why not “binge out” a little and catch up during your next commute, workout or down time?Genealogy Gems Newsletter Sign Up

Genealogy Education Can Be a “GRIPping” Experience

GRIP logo captureHello from Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny McClellan Morton. I’m still flying high after a week just spent at GRIP, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. This was like mini-graduate school for genealogists, complete with a lush green campus in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania; immediate access to legendary instructors; rigorous coursework that’s exactly what I want to learn; a great genealogy bookstore; and plenty of after-hours socializing.

While I was there, GRIP announced an exciting lineup for 2014 (it’s not even on their website yet). Here are the topics and instructors:

  • Finding and Documenting African-American Families with J. Mark Lowe, CG, and Deborah Abbott, PhD.
  • Practical Genetic Genealogy with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD.
  • Law School for Genealogists with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL and Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL.
  • Becoming an Online Expert: Mastering Search Engines and Digital Archives with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS.
  • Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard with Thomas W. Jones, PhD.
  • Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA.

All those initials after these instructors’ names means tons of expertise is poured into every GRIP experience, and if you know any of these folks you know there’s not a “boring professor” among them!

If you’re ready for seriously advanced genealogy education, check out GRIP or other learning experiences like it. In the United States, I know about SLIG in Salt Lake City, IGHR at Samford University in Birmingham, and NIGR at the National Archives. There are also more flexible (but still demanding) options like ProGen Study Groups, Boston University’s Genealogical Research Programs and the National Genealogical Society’s American Genealogy Home Study course.

Don’t forget to check out programs and conferences offered by your own state, regional and local genealogical societies. They usually offer a variety of topics for beginners to more advanced students–and they’ll be closer to home and less expensive. Our own Genealogy Gems premium memberships offers a fabulous genealogy education for a fabulous price: in addition to premium podcast episodes, you also get a new, full-length video tutorial every MONTH to watch whenever you like, along with unlimited access to all previous full-length video tutorials. Check out our list of Premium Videos here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family History Software for Mac: Recommendations from You

Are you a Mac genealogist? Check out these family history software for Mac recommendations sent in by Genealogy Gems listeners.

Recently we’ve been talking about the importance of keeping your master family tree in family tree software on your computer, especially in the wake of Ancestry’s announcement that they’re retiring Family Tree Maker software. Lisa has given lots of suggestions, including RootsMagic 7 for Mac, but YOU have also sent in these comments for Mac-compatible family history software.

1. MacFamilyTree 5

“On your list of software to replace Family Tree Maker for the Mac, you should take a look at MacFamilyTree 5
. The support is fast and fabulous. The graphics on screen and in print look up-to-date and easy to read.

As someone who has been using The Master Genealogist, I had to start looking for a replacement before the FTM users. My only complaint with MacFamilyTree is that you can’t attach sources to particular items of information as I can in TMG, but you can’t in any of the other genealogy software either. I miss being able to indicate that a source for the birth had the full date but only the state for the place, for example. So I haven’t given up on TMG yet because I don’t want to lose information as I migrate my data.” -Diana

2. Reunion 11

“I have received and read your website for some time, and have found many helpful ideas and comments.  Your last edition (Family Tree Maker discontinued) was indeed interesting, and verified how on top of things you are—thank you.

You suggested alternatives to Family Tree Maker…RootsMagic, MyHeritage, and Backblaze. (Editor’s note: Backblaze is Cloud backup for your computer, not genealogy software). While all three programs are available with versions that will work on Macs, in all fairness to Mac users, I suggest that you include (at least mention) that a great alternative for Mac is: Reunion 11 by Leister Productions.  I have used this software since their beginning, and find it world-class for the Macintosh.  They also have a method for moving your tree from Family Tree Maker to Reunion.” -Bill

More Family History Software for Mac

Thanks to Mac Users Diana and Bill for their recommendations. Here’s a great article from Family Tree Magazine outlining more options for genealogy software for the Mac.

More Inspiration from Genealogy Gems Like You

We love hearing from Genealogy Gems listeners and readers! Check out these posts from my “Mailbox.”

 

 

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