This page holds resources for Canada at the national level. See provinces for provincial or municipal level resources.
There are over 3.5 million records available for the Canadian census. That’s the good news. In July, 1871, British Columbia joined the existing Canadian confederation of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Northwest Territories. If your ancestors lived in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, or Quebec, you might be in luck.
The bad news is that Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon, Newfoundland, and Nunavut are missing, because they all joined later. (Nunavut joined 128 years later, in 1999.)
The search for family history can sometimes resemble a game of historical What’s my name? You might know your long ago family ancestor as one name, but he or she may have gone by a name variation or diminutive (short form) or nickname. Further complicating matters is that the names of Canadian family members tended to become anglicized over time. For example, your great grandfather William may have been known as Liam in his day. Here’s a great site that clearly explains name etymology, and provides lists of name variations and diminutives.
This is the website for the Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, located in Halifax, NS. Its first focus may have been immigration to Canada via Halifax, but it is now a rich resource for research into Canadian immigration. I found results for immigration to Quebec, New Westminster, and Victoria.
Need to know more about a famous Canadian? Check out this online encyclopedia.
From the site: “The Memory Project Archive houses more than 2,800 testimonials and over 10,000 images from veterans of the First World War, Second World War, the Korean War and peacekeeping missions. While the archive no longer accepts submissions, it remains the largest of its kind in Canada. Canadians can access the interviews, digitized artifacts and book a speaker.”