Station in Canada

10 Free Canadian Genealogy Websites

Thank you to Elizabeth Lapoint for contributing this fascinating article about free Canadian family history research.

Genealogy is all about names, events and dates, and Canadian genealogy is no different. All the websites listed below are free, and they cover a wide variety of genealogical subjects in Canada.

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1. TONI

The free database of the Ontario Genealogical Society, called The Ontario Name Index (TONI), contains more than 3 million names and is always growing.

All you need to place in the search box is the first name and surname, and where those you are searching for were from.

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Most of the records provided are taken from gravestones and cemeteries, but there is a table which tells you where the record came from for ease of use.

2. Peel’s Prairie Provinces

The prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta of Canada are represented by 7,500 digitized books, over 66,000 newspaper issues (4.8 million articles), 16,000 postcards, and 1,000 maps.

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You can search all of these holdings if you have ancestors who emigrated out west.

Many of the items date back to the earliest days of exploration in the region, and include a vast range of material dealing with every aspect of the settlement and development of the Canadian West.

3. Our Roots (no longer available)

Have you ever wondered where you could find books on the local history of Canada? This may just be the site you have been looking for, as it has dozens of digitized local history books.

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Just put your place in the search box (it helps if you put in the province) and see what comes up.

4. OurOntario

If you want to research newspapers in Ontario, this is the spot for you. They are also expanding into the United States with webpages covering Illinois and Michigan right now, but they do have dreams about going global in the future.

Right now though, you can search newspapers from all over Ontario.

5. Automated Genealogy

This site has been around for a number of years, but it is still useful in searching 1851, 1901, and 1911 Canadian census, and the 1906 census, which covers the prairie provinces.

What I like about the site is that it has alternative ways of spelling of surnames that other sites do not have, and is particularly helpful when you can’t find a name in the census.

6. Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM)

This is a registry of the more than 118,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who have given their lives serving Canada or the United Kingdom. It was established to allow all Canadians the opportunity to honour and remember their sacrifices.

7. Home Children

This is a major immigrant group, especially to Ontario, because between 1869 to the early 1930s, 100.000 British, Scottish and Irish children came to Canada to work as farm labourers, or in the case of girls, as domestics, and they were called Home Children.

A special ‘thank you’ should go out to the British Isles Family History Society of Great Ottawa (BIFHSGO) who have indexed many of the children sponsored by various groups to Canada.

8. The Canadian County Atlas Digital Program

This project was started by McGill university in Montreal in 1998 and mainly covers Ontario. These are property owners who appeared on the township atlases.

9. Passenger List Indexing Project

This project was carried out by the Nanaimo Family History Society of British Columbia and they have recorded 757, 749 passengers from 31 Jul 1903 to 13 Oct 1910 going to Montreal and Quebec City. Many people who eventually ended up in the United States came from the old country on these ships. A website which is well worth research for those hard to find ancestors.

10. Library and Archives Canada

The official archives of Canada includes a huge wealth of information and searchable databases — including marriage, census, land, and military records, directories, additional resources, guides and much more. Find the ancestor search here.

Elizabeth Lapoint runs the blog GenealogyCanada in which she posts genealogy, heritage, and history news daily. She also offers a research website at www.elrs.biz, which specializes in inter-border migration between the United States and Canada.

Image: North Bay Station in Canada, bet 1920-1950, Library of Congress

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16 thoughts on “10 Free Canadian Genealogy Websites”

  1. Rene vandermey

    I attempted to try MyHeritage. First yoy have to give your name. First name and family name. I guess my name doesn’t count. It was not accepted. Not in any way.
    Then, out of irritation, i filled in Adolf Hitler. That was accepted.
    Next step was my creditcardnumber. Why? They advertised with a free testperiod.
    Further more, i do not have a creditcard and i do not want one.
    Okee. So it was not possible to have a free trail, unless i got myself a creditcard just for using a free item.
    Weird.
    Besides, when my name is not accepted as a name, how accurate can the program be in searching?

  2. Donald Dufresne

    Hello,
    I am looking for information on Nicolas Dufresne(Simon or Symon)(died Dec 4,1668) he married Catherine Gamin(Domin),and they had a son named Antoine (born in St Omer,Pas-De-Calais, France) . I can’t seem to find birthdates on any of them or even find past Nicolas.

  3. I am Shaye Lynne Haver from the USA, something sparked my interest at your profile and your profile speaks much about you. Can we create a more reliable relationship because i wish to communicate with you. Here is my email address ([email protected]) I will be very astonished to read from your candid response directly at my mail box.
    Hugs,
    Shaye.

  4. Edward Rowlinson

    right here goes, I am hoping someone can help me. I have been trying to find details regarding my great uncle. His name was Edward Rowlinson, he was born 1902 in Sheffield England. His fathers name was Alfred Rowlinson. He left the shores of England about 1923 and started a new life in Canada. I think he sailed on the Niagara? This is about all the information I have but I would love to find out what became of him, where he settled and if he married or had children. His family were all in the metal industry so maybe he continued in that vain. Hope you can help me solve the mystery,thanks

  5. Looking for information on a lacy Canada from Marion ky who was married to my grandmother neomi slayden damron Canada .i,m her granddaughter .

  6. I have a George De acosta St Omer b Ontario Canada ca 1855 Died Queensland 1931 was a medicine man with some experience in Canada Ambulance work? Can not find any info on him. He said in a interview with an Austalian jounalist his family in Went right back to the begining of French in Canada???

  7. The Canadian volunteer census project mentioned above is Automated Genealogy (not Automatic). I have a list of Essential Canadian genealogy websites on my blog, CanadaGenealogy, or, Jane’s Your Aunt. Almost all are free.

  8. my relations emergrated to canada in the 1920s john clements and his wife lottie nee hoffman from porttalbot south wales worked as waitors think they had their own business later on think they were in winipeg canada but family all passed here in wales we

    porttalbot south wales .can you come on my site .

  9. reed p. gagnon

    My parternal roots (gagnon) are Maine, New Brunswick, Quebec City area, and France. My maternal roots go back to Ireland (freeman)

  10. This issue was fantastic! There is so much information it is hard to pick where to start. PLEASE Keep this type coming!

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