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* Canadian

The only large exchange of population between the United States and Canada occurred after the American victory in the Revolutionary War. Many Americans did not agree with the separation from England and remained loyal to the King. Loyalists in America had their property confiscated by the American government, and the British government offered them free land in Canada. To obtain land, they had to file petitions. It is these petitions which often provide a wealth of personal information for the present-day genealogist.

Aside from this and despite the War of 1812, the United States and Canada have interacted closely with each other since the colonial period. As a result, large numbers of Canadians have immigrated to the United States, making them the sixth largest source of immigration since 1820.

Needless to say, if your genealogical search leads you to Canada, it will probably eventually lead you to Britain or France. In addition to the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, there are a wide variety of societies and texts available for exploring your genealogy in Canada.

Contacts and Sources

Alberta Genealogical Society
10440 100 8th Avenue, Room 116
Edmonton, Alberta T5H 3Z9
Telephone: (403) 424-4429

Ontario Genealogical Society
40 Orchard View Boulevard, Suite 102
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1B9
Telephone: (416) 489-0734

Canada also has an excellent archive system, thanks to the National Archives of Canada located in Ottawa, Ontario. Each of the provinces also has its own provincial archive. For more detailed information about researching in Canada, see the topic Canadian resources.

Web Sites

Helpful Web Sites offers links to many helpful Web sites that focus on Canada:


  • British and Canadian Immigration to the United States since 1920, by Kenneth Lines
  • Searching for Your Ancestors in Canada, by Eunice Ruiter Baker
  • Your Ancient Canadian Family Ties, by Regina L. Oliver
  • In Search Of Your Roots: A Guide for Canadians Seeking Their Ancestors, by Angus Baxter
  • The Canadian Genealogical Handbook, by Eric Jonasson
For some tips on researching abroad, see the topic All about international resources.

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