Canada Ancestry

Top Databases for Genealogy Research

If you're searching for Canadian ancestors online, these databases and websites are the best places to begin your search. Expect to find a wide variety of records for building out your Canadian family tree, including census records, passenger lists, military records, church records, naturalization documents, land records and more. Best of all, many of these resources are free!

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Library and Archives Canada: Canadian Genealogy Centre

Library and Archives Canada - Genealogy
Library and Archives Canada

Search for free in a variety of Canadian genealogy resources, including digitized census and passenger lists, land records, naturalization records, passport, and other identity papers, and military records. Not all databases are included in the "Ancestors Search," so check out the complete list of available Canadian genealogy databases. Don't miss the collection of historical Canadian directoriesFree.

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FamilySearch: Canadian Historical Records

Access millions of genealogical records from the British Isles online for free from the FamilySearch website.
Access millions of genealogical records from the British Isles online for free on the FamilySearch website. © 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

From Crown land grants in British Columbia to notarial records in Quebec, FamilySearch features millions of digitized documents and transcribed records for Canadian researchers. Explore census, probate, naturalization, immigration, church, court, and vital records—available records vary by province. Free.

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2016 Ancestry

Subscription site (Canadian records also available through a World Subscription at offers numerous databases containing hundreds of millions of records for Canadian genealogy including Canadian census records, voter registration records, homestead records, passenger lists, military records, and vital records.

One of their more popular Canadian databases is the Historic Drouin Collection, which contains 37 million French-Canadian names appearing in Quebec records spanning 346 years from 1621 to 1967. All records require a subscription to access or sign up for a free trial. Subscription.

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© 2016

Over 40 million documents and pages of Canada's printed heritage (old books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) can be accessed online, covering the time of the first European settlers up to the early 20th century. Many of the digital collections are free, but access to Early Canadiana Online requires a paid subscription (individual memberships available). Many libraries and universities throughout Canada offer subscriptions to their patrons, so check with them first for free access. Subscription.

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Canada GenWeb


The various province and territory projects under the umbrella of Canada GenWeb offer access to transcribed records, including census records, cemeteries, vital records, land records, wills, and more. While there, don't miss the Canada GenWeb Archives, where you can access some of the contributed files in one location. Free.

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Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) - Quebec Parish Records

The Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) at the Université de Montréal offers this searchable collection of Quebec databases includes 2.4 million Catholic certificates of baptism, marriage, and burial of Quebec, and Protestant marriages, 1621-1849. Searches are free, but viewing your results costs about $25 for 150 hits. Pay per view.

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British Columbia Historical Newspapers

University of British Columbia

This project of the University of British Columbia features digitized versions of more than 140 historical papers from around the province. The titles, which range from the Abbotsford Post to the Ymir Miner, date from 1865 to 1994. Similar newspaper projects from other provinces include Peel's Prairie Provinces from the University of Alberta and Manitoba. The Google News Archive also includes digitized images of dozens of Canadian newspapers. Free.

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Canadian Virtual Wall Memorial

Veterans Affairs Canada

Search this free registry for information about the graves and memorials of more than 118,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served valiantly and gave their lives for their country. Free.

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Immigrants to Canada

The immigrant ship 'Royal Edward' leaving Avonmouth harbour bound for Canada.
Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

Marj Kohli has amassed a wonderful collection of record extracts documenting immigrants to Canada in the nineteenth century. This includes voyage accounts, lists of ships sailing to Canada, 1800s emigrant handbooks that document life for the Canadian immigrant and government immigration reports. Free.

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Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics

Crown copyright © 2015, Province of Nova Scotia

More than a million Nova Scotia birth, marriage and death records can be searched here for free. Every name is also linked to a digitized copy of the original record which can also be viewed and downloaded for free. High-quality electronic and paper copies are also available for purchase. Free.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Canada Ancestry." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Powell, Kimberly. (2021, February 16). Canada Ancestry. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Canada Ancestry." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).