I like poking around in HC. There's the thrill of discovery - what will I find today - but once I find something, I automatically want to know more about it. This is when we need to find our way back to LAC. There are other ways to search LAC - by collection title or mikan number to name two - but using the reel number gives more targeted results. Multiple results for a single reel reference number means there are multiple collections on one reel.
I had the pleasure of three days of research at the BC archives last August. It was my second visit there and I was much better prepared. I don't know when next I'll visit Ottawa so I mean to make the most of it. Already I know I won't see all that I want to see, nor will I have the capacity to spent eight hours/day reading microfilm. I'm planning a week when I need a month - every minute will be precious!
... Before, you went to Library Archives Canada's site, and then you went to the siloed databases. Like if you wanted "Immigrants before 1865," you search there. And then if you wanted "Russian Immigrants," you'd search there. So it was extremely difficult to find anything at Library and Archives Canada. And what was missing was a central collection search. Well, guess what, there is now a central collection search...
Like you, I spend inordinate amounts of time researching obscure documents at odd hours. (Truthfully, sometimes it's research and sometimes it's getting lost down rabbit holes.) If only everything was online. I read archival finding aids like a Christmas wish list: I want this, and this, and this too. My curiosity is far bigger than my budget (to pay external researchers).
How to read the codes for vital statistic records at the BC archives:I'm excited to share this with you. Despite pulling birth, marriage, and death records (BMDs) back in 2018, I'd forgotten this little trick for reading registration codes and was utterly confused my first day. Now I'm sharing it with you (and my future self, who will forget again). There are two different methods depending on whether the records were produced before or after 1944. We will start with the easier ones: record produced after 1944.
Once you're on site, my best tip for getting the most out of an archives visit is asking for a quick tour. Most times the archivist will ask you what area, subject, or time frame you're researching. They will also show you how to fill out a record retrieval slip and while I am an experienced researcher, I always appreciate the reminders. Every archive follows archival best practises, which means...
After census records and vital statistics (birth, marriage, and death records), church records are some of the most important fonds in a genealogist's toolkit. For the Chinese, however, it was a circuitous path to worship and so it appears relatively few Catholic or Protestant records exist. I am working on understanding better how the Methodist Church ministered to the Chinese populations in Canada. My research shows they established missions for non-white congregants and it was the Vancouver and Victoria mission fonds I wanted to explore.
It may come as a surprise to learn that not all historic records are accurate. Here's my unofficial ranking of genealogy records, with an example.
What's available for Chinese genealogy on Ancestry? I look at the records and show you how to navigate them.
In this post, I show you how to use the card catalog to find the case files for Japanese Canadian genealogy.