Library and Archives Canada
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Genealogy and Family History

How to Begin

Finding Information

Research in Archives

Once you have completed your research of published sources, you will want to consult archival records.

Original records, being unique documents, generally must be examined within the archive in which they reside. They are seldom loaned to other institutions (as are books and periodicals) except for exhibitions and other special purposes. For the most part, you will consult archival records by using microfilmed and scanned or digitized copies. Many digitized records are available on the Internet, and more are added every day. Use the Internet to see if the records you might need are available online (See Internet Research).

The following are the major records you will consult:

  • birth records;
  • marriage records;
  • death records;
  • census records; and
  • land records.

Most of these records can be found in Library and Archives Canada or in private or provincial and territorial archives. Consult What to Search: Topics for more information about these records and where they are located.

Most archives in Canada provide research tools, guides and finding aids to help you use their collections. These tools will help you become familiar with the resources available in each repository. The Canadian Council of Archives [] provides information about many archives in Canada and includes a searchable directory.