The Genealogy Centre of Canada is now online, which is good news for rooters with a Canuck connection. Many Americans trace their ancestry to Canada. Some had ancestors who stopped in Canada for varying periods of time before emigrating to the United States. Others descend from Loyalists _ colonists who disagreed with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and moved to Canada _ while some simply continued the family migration and ended up in this country.
The Centre (www.genealogy.gc.ca/01/01e.html), a joint project initiated by the Canadian Archives and the Department of Canadian Heritage, aims to provide greater access to Canadian genealogical resources. Become familiar with this site by clicking on the "How To" section and skimming the menu on the left. Then tackle the genealogy section. You'll find research guides, a section on Canadian geography, essential for anyone contemplating a serious research effort, and information for ordering a free publication, "Tracing Ancestors in Canada."
The Centre can't help you research your entire family tree and does not hold birth, marriage and death records, but it does accept inquiries related to military and immigration records. The Centre's site also has online searchable databases for immigration records from 1925-35, World War I military records and Home Children.
The Home Children searchable database is unique. Between 1869 and 1930, approximately 100,000 children arrived in Canada from Great Britain during the child immigration movement. The youngsters were offspring from poor families sent to Canada to work as farm laborers or domestic servants by parents who thought they would have more economic opportunities across the pond.
You can learn more about this interesting aspect of Canadian history by logging onto the Centre for Home Children's site at www.homechildren.ca. The Centre helps children who arrived between 1869-1948 and/or their descendants discover their true identities and assists with tracing and locating living family members.
You'll also want to visit the Canadian National Archives at www.archives.ca/ 01/01e.html. Click on genealogy, and you'll find general information on conducting research in Canada, searchable databases, a list of resources and freelance researchers.
Be sure to explore ArchiviaNet, a link to online research tools. There is also good information and searchable databases pertaining to United Empire Loyalists, those American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and moved to Canada. Some Loyalists applied for land grants. Others eventually returned to the United States.
The Canadian National Library at www.nlc-bnc.ca offers still more possibilities. Click on the Library icon, select services and then go to services for researchers and genealogy. Not planning a trip to Canada any time soon? You can borrow microfilm records through an interlibrary loan program that extends to the United States. In addition, the Mormon Family History Center (FHC) owns a considerable collection of Canadian records that may be viewed at any local FHC.
Certain Canadian census records are searchable online. The entire 1881 Canadian Census may be searched by surname at the Mormon Family History site at www.familysearch.org. The 1901 National Census and the 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces are online at the Canadian Archives site but are searchable only by geographic location. Go to www.archives.ca/ 01/01e.html and click on ArchivaNet.
If you still haven't found what you need, try the Directory of Canadian archives at www.cdncouncilarchives.ca, where you'll find a list of Canadian repositories and a description of their records collection.
And finally, don't miss RootsWeb's Canadian sites. Start at www.rootsweb.com/canwgw, where you can select from a variety of links, such as Canada's timeline and query boards, and even subscribe to an e-mail list. Then click on a regional site from the directory at the right to get an idea of what's available. I randomly picked Saskatchewan. Topics included on that regional site include adoption, cemetery records, genealogy societies and homestead records.
Read past Donna Murray Allen columns online at www.sptimes.com. Type "Donna Murray Allen" in the search box at the top of the main page. You can write to Allen c/o Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail her at rootscolumnyahoo.com. Her Web site: www.rootsdetective.com. Allen welcomes your questions about genealogy and will respond to those of general interest in future columns. Sorry, she can't take phone calls.