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Library & Archives of Canada

1918 Canadian soldierWith the entire northern length of the United States bordered with the Commonwealth nation of Canada, it is very possible a few ancestors were born, lived or died there. In fact an aspect most people don’t realize is that many young men during World War I who were not accepted in the military in their native United States (health or occupational reasons), actually joined the Canadian Army just so their could serve and help end that war (1914-1918). Also many families who wanted to immigrate to the U. S. found it easier to first arrive in Canada and in a short time cross the border into the U. S.

Because Canada was a commonwealth nation of the United Kingdom, many orphaned children were sent to live in Canada and they later came to the U. S. The vast lands available across this large nation brought many new immigrants who resettled for a short time or long term in Canada. The Library and Archives of Canada have numerous databases on some of these topics to assist in family research.

There are divorce records covering 1841 to 1968; Western Land Grants from 1870 to 1930; Immigration records 1925-1935; World War One and Two Solders; the NW Mounted Police records 1873-1904; and many others. Each record or index will vary in what information is provided. For example the database of ship arrival of orphaned children 1869-1930 from the United Kingdom, provides the child’s name, birth date, where they came from in the U. K. what ship they arrived and the date and where they were being sent in Canada.

In the search box, place a surname and then a listing of those matching names and the database the information is from is displayed. A nice item is to the right side are the topics or categories with information relating to the full name or surname you placed in the search. So if you were looking for a soldier who served during World War One for Canada, it provides how many and which records are available. Look for ‘Attestation paper’ which would be the scanned image of a document or record, a great addition. It can be copied and saved to your computer.

Plug in a few ancestor’s names or a family name and see what you come up with, you might be surprised.

Photo: The Jan. 1918 Canadian enlistment of John Thomas Kershaw, a former Englishman and later an American from Massachusetts.  Provides information and his signature. (My great uncle).

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