Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Religious Records Part 7 - The Territories

To wrap up the series on religious records, we are in this post looking at the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia entry on the Yukon, 50 percent of the people had no religious affiliation, 46 percent claimed Christian denominations, and 1 percent claimed Native spirituality. There was nothing else listed for the remaining 3 percent. There is a a rather interesting 1990 paper prepared for the Yukon Government on the history of the church in the Yukon. The link to it is here.

The Yukon Archives does have some church records in their holdings. I typed "church records" in the archival descriptions database and got several hits. The collections I clicked on did not have much in the way of actual baptisms, marriages and burials. But, there were photographs, session minutes and journals, among other things in the fonds. They are worth taking a look at too. You never know if your ancestor will be named somewhere, or if you might get lucky and find a photograph.

They have also compiled a pdf of researching genealogy at their Archives. It's 90 pages long but an incredible source of information for them. The link to the pdf is here. The religious records section is on page 25.

The Yukon GenWeb has contact information on their website for Catholic and Anglican church Archives.

The Dawson City Museum does have some church records in their holdings. The link list their collections. Though none state church records specifically, if you click on the each fond, you will find descriptions of each individual collection. I went through and there are three or four collections that include church related records.

Northwest Territories
According to the Wikipedia page, in 2001 most residents identified themselves as Catholic. The protestant sects were the next largest, and 17 percent stated no religious affiliation. The Virtual Museum has a good overview of the missionary work in the North.

Because the Northwest Territories once included parts of many of the provinces, you may have to look at these provinces to find the records you are looking for. As far as the current boundaries of NWT, there is not much available outside of the Church Archives themselves.

The FamilySearch wiki has contact information for the United and Presbyterian Church Archives that pertain to the Northwest Territories.

The Northwest Territories Public Library has some reference guides available to help you search for records for this area. By enetering "church records" into their online search, I got seven hits, all guides and indexes.

The Hudson's Bay Archives (through the Archives of Manitoba) has a couple of collections related to church records here.

According the the New World Encyclopedia, the majority of residents are Anglican, Catholic,  and "Born again Christianity". As with Yukon and the Northwest Territories, there is a history of missionary work here. Click on the link above in the Northwest Territories section for an overview.

Nunavut is a new area, being established in 1999. Before this it was a part of the Northwest Territories, so you will most likely find what you need by looking at NWT genealogy resources.


Monday, 17 April 2017

Religious Records Part 6 - Alberta and British Columbia

This post we're finishing up the provinces by looking at Alberta and British Columbia.

Though there were Catholic priests in Alberta in the beginning, it was the Wesleyan Methodists that first started consciously performing and recording baptisms, marriages and burials in Alberta. Through the years, the diverse ethnic groups that settled the west brought their own religious denominations. Today, along with Catholic and the various Protestant sects, you an also find Mennonites, Hudderites, Mormons, and Ukrainian Orthodox. The area relied heavily on "circuit riders" in the beginning. These were priests and ministers who traveled from place to place, tending to the needs of the various settlements they came across.

As with the religious records in other provinces, you may have to contact the religious archives directly to find and obtain copies. FamilySearch's wiki on Alberta church records has contact information of the various archives. You can access it here.

The Provincial Archives of Alberta has some Catholic and Protestant church records dating from the 1830's to present day. These are only available to view on site. A description of the holdings is here.

If you have Mennonite ancestors, check out the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta. They have onsite access to various records, and some have been indexed and put online. They also publications for sale.

The South Peace Regional Archives has some religious records in their collections. Contact the archives about access to these records in their reading room.

The Glenbow Museum also has some church records within some of their fonds. from what I could gather, they are not separate fonds by themselves, but are contained among different collections. Use the keywords "church records" in searches of their archival holdings to see what they have.

British Columbia
Like Alberta, both Catholic and the Protestant sects have deep pre-Confederation history. To this day, they make up the largest proportion of religious affiliation in the province. Also like Alberta, the best way to get a hold of religious records here is to contact the church archives themselves.

The FamilySeach wiki on religious records is here. In it contains contact numbers for the various church archives in the province.

The BC Archives has an online index to baptisms from 1836-1888. This index gives you an extraction of the record, but will\not\give you an image. There is also an index for a collection called "Colonial Marriages". These were marriages submitted by clergy between 1859-1872. This does not give you an image either,but an extraction of the record. It also lists the microfilm number.

A great tool in general is Memory BC. For church records, use the search words "baptisms", "marriages", and "burials" separately, and it will give you the location and name of collections all around the province that pertain to these.

The Vancouver Public Library has some books of church transcriptions. If you live in other areas of BC, check with your local library there. Many local genealogical and historical societies donate works like these to them.

Next post in the series will be the last, in which we cover the three Territories.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

History Blogs

I have been rather lax about my history posts, and I apologize. The "job that pays for genealogy" and my courses have left me with less time than I originally planned for blogging. I realized that two blog posts a week was a little ambitious, given my current schedule. So, my Canadian history posts will be less frequent than my genealogy posts. I will still post once a week on genealogy, but the history posts will be less frequent. To get your history fix, might I suggest you look at:

Unwritten Histories by Andrea Eidinger. Andrea is a historian and her Weekly Roundup posts are very informative.

Canadian History Timeline. This page is great. Every day of the year has a historical event in Canadian history. Not only the typical historical events, but you can also find events relating to sports, finance, and entertainment as well. If it relates to Canada, it will be listed.

Also check out the Canadian Historical Association's list of history blogs. I haven't looked at all of the ones listed, but the few I looked at so far are good.

If you have any other suggestions, then feel free to mention them in the comments and I'll be sure to add them to the post.

Next post will be back to genealogy, when we continue looking at Religious Records.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Religious Records Part 5 - Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Moving across Canada, this post looks at Religious Record sources for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the largest religious denomination practiced in Manitoba is Catholicism, with United Church and Anglican being second and third. The Manitoba Historical Society has a page about the early churches in Winnipeg here.

FamilySearch has a browse only collection called Manitoba Church Records 1800-1959 here. The collection has both Catholic and Protestant records from various Manitoba parishes. Take note that while some records are in English, you will also find records written in French. You may also find Icelandic language records. The FamilySearch wiki on church records is a great resource for archive contact information.

The Archives of Manitoba do have some religious records on microfilm. When I entered "religious records" into their keyword search, I got 13 record sets involving religious records that covered the years 1820-1999. They offer inter library loan for microfilm records, but not everything is on microfilm.

Also check out the Hudson Bay Archives through their site. If your ancestor was in Manitoba during the years that the HBC owned the land, you might find some mention of them. The Archives not only has official records of the company, but a rather eclectic collection of letters, journals, and other genealogical information.

The Manitoba Genealogical Society has a great set of links to help you find religious records in Manitoba.

Unlike other provinces, it looks that the best way to obtain church record information is to contact the religious archives themselves. The FamilySearch wiki on church records is a great resource for archive contact information for Manitoba.

The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, a great resource tool for Saskatchewan research in general, has an in depth history of the provinces religious history here. The province has always been a predominately Protestant one, with Catholics being the second largest denomination.

FamilySearch has an indexed collection of Catholic church records that cover the years 1846-1957. You can access the collection here. They also have a small wiki on Saskatchewan church records here.

The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan has some church records among their holdings. Some are original and some are on microfilm. Access can be restricted though. Check the link above for exact rules. Also on the page is the contact information for the various church archives for the province.

The Saskatchewan GenWeb has a great page about religious records. It is filled with links not only on finding the records you need, but also on the history of the various religious sects.

If you have Mennonite ancestors in Saskatchewan, try contacting the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. They are a repository for the history and records of the Mennonites in Saskatchewan.

Next post in the series, we'll be looking at Alberta and British Columbia.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Religious Records Part 4- Quebec and Ontario

In our travel across Canada, we're going to take a look this post for religious records in Quebec and Ontario.

Those of you who research in Quebec know that religious records play a much more important role here than in the other provinces. Up until the 1900's church records were the official form of civil registration, as by law the churches had to forward copies of all their entries to the government.

It comes as no surprise that Quebec has the largest Catholic population in Canada. Catholic church records in Quebec go back to the 1600's, when it was called New France. Religion has always been central to the French/English relations in Quebec. For a quick history of the Catholic church, take a look at Marianopolis College's page here. A PDF of Quebec's religious history with Catholicism and Protestantism from reformedreflections.ca is here.

FamilySearch has an indexed collection of records called Quebec, Catholic Parish Records 1621-1979 here. You can also browse the over 1 million images by town, and then parish. Their wiki on religious records for Quebec is here.

Ancestry has the huge Drouin collection for Quebec here. This collection not only has Catholic records, but the many forms of Protestant, Othodox, and some Jewish records as well. It covers the years 1621-1968.

Also on Ancestry is the Tanguay Collection. This is a collection of genealogical records put together by Father Cyprian Tanguay in the late 1800's, It doesn't give original images of documents, but rather is a series of books that lists the BMD events of the early French Canadian families. It is a little cumbersome to navigate, but can help you to fill in gaps. Please note however, that the Tanguay Collection has been known to contain errors. You should look at it as more of a guiding tool, than as absolute proof for the life event.

The best place to go for religious records in Quebec is Genealogie Quebec. Among their vast holdings is The LAFRANCE Collection, which covers records from 1621-2008, and the Drouin. They also have many smaller collections that cover various areas and years. There are both Catholic and Protestant records here. Some of their collections are free, while some you need to pay.

Another place to look is BAnQ, the Quebec Archives. Along with many other genealogical record sets, they also have records for both Catholic and non Catholic parishes. Some collections are online, while some are not. The majority of the site is in French, but they do have an English link, and your internet browser should be able to translate as well.

Library and Archives Canada also has some religious records available that pertain to Quebec. You can take a look at what they have here.

Now while Quebec has always been predominately Catholic, Ontario on the other hand has from the outset been a stronghold for the Protestant faiths. The Ontario GenWeb has attempted to give a history of the various religions in Ontario here. As they themselves stated, it was a hard task to complete, and may be prone to errors. The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) also has a good overview of Ontario church records here.

The Archives of Ontario has on their website a good compilation of religious archives in Ontario. They also have some "original and copied records" on microfilm that are available both onsite and through inter library loan here.

FamilySearch has a database called Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records 1760-1923 here. It is not indexed, but can be browsed by Their wiki on Ontario church records in general is here.

Ancestry has the Ontario Catholic Drouin Collection, covering the years 1802-1967. I found a baptism for one of my step brothers that took place in Ottawa in 1963 in this collection. most of these records are in French, but you will find some in English or Latin.

Also on Ancestry is the Ontario, Canada Marriage Registers by Clergy. The Registration Act of 1896 required that all clergy report marriages to the government within 30 days of the event. The registers cover the years 1896-1948, and are mostly Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist marriages. You can access the collection here.

If you have Wesleyan Methodist ancestors, then there are transcriptions of the registers sorted alphabetically here. These were created by Ida Reed and put up on RootsWeb by Bill Martin. As with any transcription, you should use these as a guide to finding the original record.

If you have Metis ancestors, then you should be looking at the Metis Nation of Ontario's guide to church records. There are links to the various collections that will help you to research your Metis lines.

The OGS has many branches across Ontario. Each branch has put out publications on transcriptions of church records. These can be bought through the OGS store, Each branch also has various records in their holdings. For example, according to the website of the Quinte branch of the OGS, they have in their library the following under the heading of church records:

  • Wesleyan Methodist Baptism Registers of Northumberland Co. 1834-1902 
  • More Obituaries from Ontario’s Methodist Papers 1873-1884
  • Obituaries from Christian Guardian 1884-1890
  • Methodist Baptisms Sidney & Tyendinaga Townships 1840-1887
  • Lutheran Church Records 1783-1832, Fredericksburgh Twp., (Kingston OGS)
  • Rev. John Langhorn Anglican Registers 1787-1814 (Kingston OGS)
  • Births, Marriages and Deaths of St. Thomas Church, Belleville, 1821-1874
  • Minutes of St. Thomas Anglican Church, Belleville 
  • District Marriage Registers include Ottawa 1816-1853, Prince Edward 1833-1847, Talbot 1837-1859, 1868, Victoria 1839-1858, 1861, Newcastle 1810-1855 and Colborne 1841-1857.
  • County Marriage Registers of Ontario include Prince Edward, Hastings, York, Northumberland, Lennox & Addington, Durham, Toronto, Kingston & Frontenac, Lincoln & Welland and Peterborough.
  • Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register Master Index (100,000+ names) and Baptismal Registers, United Church Archives (microfilm) also Prince Edward County 1841-1888, Hastings 1840-1904, and Out of Ontario 1826-1900 (transcripts).
  • Other Methodist Records include: Early Methodists in Upper & Lower Canada 1759-1828; Niagara Conference Methodist Episcopal Church Baptismal Register Index 1849-1886; Baptisms & Marriages Rev. W. Case 1810-1837; Prince Edward County Baptisms 1800’s & 1841-1888; Madoc Twp., Hastings Co., Baptisms 1843-1876; Kingston City & Township, Frontenac Co., Baptisms 1844-1876; Frontenac Co. Baptisms 1835-1897; Early Methodist Records, United Empire Loyalists Association; and More Notices from Ontario Methodist Papers 1830-1857, 1858-1872.
  • Presbyterian Registers and Records include: Communion Roll, Tyendinaga Twp., 1862-1893; Kingston 1821-1869; Rev. Robt. McDowall, Upper Canada; Marriage Register, St. Andrews, Campbellford, 1858, 1886; Baptism Register, St. Andrews, Picton, 1866-1984; Zion Baptismal & Marriage, 1891-1919; and Births, Rev. John Scott, 1842-1919.
  • Marriage Registers of Stephen Conger 1803-1823, Rev. Daniel McMullen 1831-1873, David S. Hubbs 1905-1911 and Rev. D. F. Gee 1877-1890.
  • Baptisms Registers of Rev. Robert Neill, Seymour Twp, Northumberland Co. 1840-1878.
  • Anglican Parish Register of Rev. John Stuart 1784-1911.
  • Clarendon Baptist Parish Registers 1877-1939 & Minute Books 1877-1919 (microfilm).
  • Westlake Monthly Meeting, Births & Deaths, 1829-1865.
  • The Carlisle List, BMDs, Middlesex County, 1839-1866.
  • Marriages, Prince Edward County , Persons Married Elsewhere.
  • Missing Marriages of Hastings County.
  • Marriage Bonds of Ontario 1803-1834.
  • Marriage Notices of Ontario 1813-1854, 1830-1856.
  • Death Notices of Ontario, 1810-1849.
  • Death Notices from Christian Guardian, 1836-1850, 1851-1860.

For both Ontario and Quebec, check out the local library or archive where you are researching. Local history and genealogical societies may have donated transcriptions of church records.For instance, I found the following books at my local library in Lindsay, Ontario. This is just a sampling, they have many more:
  • A book of transcriptions from Knox Presbyterian Church in Woodville covering 1844-1915
  • A book transcribing Roman Catholic baptisms for Emily and Ennismore Townships
  • Abook of transciptions of Marriages and Burials in Downeyville's St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church

Next post, we will look at records for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.