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How Do I Do Genealogical Research?

Government Sources

Governments (national, provincial, local and regional) and inter-governmental organizations (like the United Nations) publish documents, reports, articles and books relevant to many fields of study.

The Government Publications collection is on the 2nd floor of Mills Library and consists of the official publications of Canada's three levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal) as well as selected publications of other countries' governments. Government publications can be accessed through the library catalogue.

Some Genealogical Sources Located in the Government Publications Collection


In Canada, the federal government is responsible for recording and preserving nominal census information. For settled areas, the nominal census begins in 1851. Government Publications has all published nominal census records on microfilm. Nominal census information is available for the years 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881,1891, 1901 and 1911. These years usually contain no names, just statistics or list only the heads of households and the total number of individuals in each household.

Facts to be gleaned from the census records include age, sex, place of birth, religion, occupation, marital status, education and physical disabilities. To speed the location of ancestors, genealogists should know the name of the city and ward or county and township where the ancestor resided.

Local branches of the Ontario Genealogical Society have published alphabetical name lists to the 1871 Census. These works greatly speed the location of ancestors for this time period. Approximately twenty of these guides have been published and are located in the Reference Area of Mills Library. Call numbers can be found by doing a title search in MORRIS under the heading: Index to the 1871 census of Ontario: (name of county).

Another source of interest to genealogists is a six volume set compiled and published by the National Library of Canada. This 1986 set, provides a list of published family genealogies located in Canadian archives and libraries, and can be found in MORRIS under the title Annotated Bibliography of Genealogical Works in CanadaCA1.. LC....-86A511.

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