From 1763 until the Canadian Citizenship Act came into force on January 1, 1947, people born in Canada were all British subjects. Since immigrants born in Great Britain and the Commonwealth were already British subjects, they had no need to become naturalized or to obtain British citizenship in Canada.
A number of earlier laws governed naturalization before 1947. Under these acts, aliens could petition for naturalization. If successful, they would swear allegiance to the British sovereign and would be granted the rights of someone born within the British Empire.
In order to apply for citizenship, a person had to have resided in Canada for a minimum number of years since his or her time of entry.
From 22 May 1868 to 4 May 1910:
From 5 May 1910 to 6 June 1919:
From 7 June 1919 to 14 February 1977:
From 15 February 1977 to present:
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Upper Canada and Canada West Naturalization Registers, 1828-1850
Library and Archives Canada holds 188 naturalization registers for Upper Canada and Canada West (Ontario) for the years 1828 to 1850. The registers have been digitized and are available online. The use of this digitized database is facilitated by a name index.
Citizenship Registration Records for the Montreal Circuit Court (1851-1945)
Library and Archives Canada holds 8432 records created by the Circuit Court office in Montreal. Most records were created between 1868 and 1916. A typical file will include:
and provide the following information for each petitioner:
A database allows you to access the files by surname and/or given name.
Research in Other Institutions
Citizenship and Immigration Canada holds records of naturalization and citizenship from 1854 to the present. The originals of records dated between 1854 and 1917 have been destroyed.
However, a card index by name has survived, which provides information compiled at the time of naturalization, such as:
The index rarely contains any other genealogical information. Please note that Library and Archives Canada does not hold a copy of that card index.
Records created after 1917 are more detailed, indicating:
Requests for searches of naturalization/citizenship indexes and records from 1854 to the present should be mailed to:
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Public Rights Administration
360 Laurier Avenue West, 10th Floor
Please note that the following conditions apply:
Your request should include the full name, date and place of birth, and if possible, the Canadian citizenship number or naturalization certificate number.
Copies of Access to Information Request Forms can be obtained from most Canadian public libraries and federal government offices or downloaded from Info Source [www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/tbsf-fsct/350-57-eng.asp].
To request a search of your own records for proof of your status or to obtain a citizenship certificate, you must submit an Application for a Search of Citizenship Records or an Application for a Citizenship Certificate to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, [www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/menu-citizen.asp].
Canadian Naturalization 1915-1951 database
Research in Provincial Sources
Many Provincial and Territorial Archives hold records relating to naturalization records.