Friday, April 16, 2021

Canadian Genealogical Virtual Research Intensive - Researching Ontario & Quebec Ancestors

Canadian Genealogical Virtual Research Intensive (CGVRI) is the only genealogical research institute dedicated to offering courses of interest to family history researchers and genealogists researching in Canada and the provinces. 

All courses are taught by instructors who are Canadian and/or live in Canada. 

The mission of CGVRI is to offer in-depth courses that will expand students' understanding of Canada, its history, geography, immigrants and settlers, and will further develop their knowledge and skills of researching their family history in Canada. This will be achieved through the use of virtual presentations, in-class discussions and activities. Some courses may include optional homework and projects. 

Two concurrent courses of eighteen (18) classes each are being offered for the week of July 18 -23, 2021. 

Classes are 75 minutes in length. There are four classes per day, Monday through Thursday. Two classes on Friday.

All course times are listed in the Eastern (Toronto, Canada) time zone, and will be taught virtually.

Course Objective: The objective of this course is for students to gain a better understanding of the records, resources and repositories for researching their ancestors in Ontario and Quebec. 

Our Instructors: Tracey Arial, Johanne Gervais, Ken McKinlay and Janice Nickerson, Kathryn Lake Hogan 

Level of Instruction: Intermediate 

Suggested Prerequisites: Students are expected to have knowledge of general genealogical methodology and be adept at online researching. A basic understanding of Canadian history and geography is key to students' achieving success in this course. Students will be expected to read a book on Canadian history prior to the beginning of the course. Suggested reading will be made closer to the time. 

Course Descriptions and Schedule

This course will be held virtually using webinar technology. All times are listed in the Eastern time zone: Toronto, Canada. 


10:00 AM: Examining Early Settlers of Quebec and Ontario

Learning about the early history of Quebec and Ontario is key to successful genealogical research in these provinces. Important dates, locations and historical events will be discussed to further comprehension of early Quebec (New France) and Ontario (Upper Canada) settlements prior to the Confederation of Canada in 1867.

11:30 AM: Where Were They? Using Historical Maps and Gazetteers for Ontario and Quebec Research

Where exactly was your ancestor in early Canada? This class will focus on examining pre-20th century Canadian, Ontario and Quebec maps and gazetteers to locate our ancestors in time and place. Migration routes and methods of travel from place-to-place will be discussed. 

1:30 PM: Early Census Records of Quebec

Since the beginning of New France, the Intendants of the colony conducted many small or regional censuses. These Intendants analyzed the population data to help determine requirements for economic expansions in the colony. Early censuses provide a glimpse of your ancestors’ lives when they first immigrated to New France. What was their first job? Was your ancestor a servant, a mason, or a hatter? Did he have a sponsor? Did he own his house and land? Was he married? This session will cover what can be found in the early census records, how they can be used to construct French-Canadian families, and where the census records can be found. 

3:00 PM: Loggers, Farmers and Labourers: Ontario and Quebec Ancestors in the Canadian Census Records

Each of the Canadian censuses were unique in the questions asked and the instructions given to the enumerators. Students will learn strategies and techniques for searching, navigating, and analyzing Canadian census records. An understanding of how these records can be used for researching Ontario and Quebec ancestors will be gained.


10:00 AM: Just Across the Border

Border entry records contain a wealth of information about our ancestors who may have crossed the Canadian-American border for immigration, migration or opportunity. Ontario and Quebec border entry points will be examined. Reasons our ancestors travelled back and forth across the border will be discussed. 

11:30 AM: Understanding Ontario's Registrations of Birth, Marriage and Death Records

Key records in researching Ontario ancestors are civil registrations of vital statistics: birth, marriage and death records. This session will introduce students to the Registration Acts, the use of vital registration numbering system, including delayed registrations, and a brief look at adoptions and divorces. Limitations and access of the public records, as well as how to order birth, marriage and death documents from the Ontario Registrar General will be explained. 

1:30 PM: How Do You Research Records from the Time Church and State Were One?

The official state records for today’s Quebec were collected and stored by the Catholic Church between 1621 and 1994. This means your ancestors might appear in parish records now held by various institutions in the province, even when other organizations originally created them. In this session, we’ll discuss which church records exist, where you can find them and how to use them. In addition to baptisms, burials marriages, and parish records, we’ll look at orphan records, land records, construction records, fundraising records, directories and newsletters. Most are in French, but there were many in English, too. 

3:00 PM: The Importance of Religion in Ontario

Learn what were the major religious denominations of Ontarians in the late 18th through to the early 20th centuries. Gain an understanding of the holdings of church records such as parish registers, membership lists, session records, communicant rolls, board minutes and newsletters, how to access them, and the information they hold about our ancestors. Most church records discussed will be English, and a few in French. 


10:00 AM: Using Ontario and Quebec Historical Newspapers

Historical newspapers are filled with stories, advertisements, society pages and more that can provide little known details about our ancestors’ lives. We will be examining the Canadian, Ontario and Quebec historical newspapers in order to unearth the treasures hidden between the sheets of newsprint. 

11:30 AM: Quebec Notarial Records

Various collections of Quebec notarial records cover close to 300 years, from about 1637 to 1935, with more than 16 million documents available to search. The size of these collections means you are likely to find information for at least one of your ancestors who lived in Quebec. Notarial records, such as marriage contracts, guardianships, and land transactions, provide information regarding the social and business activities of your ancestors not found on census records or civil status records. This presentation will describe the types of existing notarial records; the genealogical related data; and the various tools available to locate these records. 

1:30 PM: Introduction to Criminal Justice Records of 19th Century Ontario

Family historians are always seeking records that will help us tell the story of our ancestors' lives. But few of us make use of the rich trove of stories found in justice system records. Were your ancestors criminals? Did they sit on a jury or testify at a trial? Maybe they went to jail because they couldn't pay their debts.

This class will cover the early history of criminal justice administration in Ontario and the records generated by the criminal justice system, including coroner's records, police records, prosecutions records, court records, judges' bench books, and jail records. 

3:00 PM: Introduction to Wills and Estate Records of Ontario

Few documents are as rich in genealogical information as wills and estate records. In wills we can sometimes catch rare glimpses of our ancestor's unique personality and insight into intimate family relationships and friendships. In the records of intestate succession, we find legally binding direct evidence of family relationships, frequently including the surnames of married daughters and addresses of far-flung next-of-kin. And in both testate and intestate records, we learn details of our ancestors' financial situation, real property ownership, and sometimes room by room inventories of their household contents. This class will cover the records of legal inheritance in Ontario including Probate and Surrogate Court records for testate and intestate estates and Land Registry Office deposits of wills that may not have gone through the courts. In addition, students will learn about the history of inheritance laws in Ontario and how to apply this knowledge to interpretation and location of relevant records.          


10:00 AM And Your Petitioner Will Ever Pray: Understanding Crown Land Records in Upper Canada

The land granting system of early Ontario, then known as Upper Canada, produced a vast quantity of records that are full of details about the settlers who petitioned for land and were often, but not always, successful in securing a land grant. We will examine the land granting process and where to find the land records both in real and virtual repositories and archives. 

11:30 AM Exploring Ontario Land Records

This presentation will help you locate those various documents to find where your ancestors lived in Ontario and then locate the applicable land records. Using readily available online resources we will look at the various land records for Ontario. Our focus will be primarily on the rural parts of Ontario where the concession and lot system exist. The initial challenge we often face is finding where our ancestors were on the ground. The first part of this session will be using various records to locate where they lived. With those details we will next search databases and abstracts to learn where the instruments are in the land books. Finally, we will locate the various instruments detailing the land transactions involving our ancestors. 

1:30 PM Finding Ancestors in Seigniorial Land Records

Following the borders of colonization to figure out where to look for records can be a challenge.  A township system began in 1774 and the seigniorial regime officially ended in 1854, but some manors continued operating until the following century. During this course, we’ll examine five different record types from this period: notarial acts, land grants, pledge records, oaths of allegiance and censuses. The syllabus will contain important references and a French-English glossary. 

3:00 PM Leaving Quebec: The Patterns of Canadian Migration between 1642 and 1930

This session focuses on genealogical records created during the opening of the Canadian West, settlement of the Northern States after the Civil War, and the expansion of railways across Canada and roads across the United States. From early religious settlements through farming homesteads to urban development, almost every jurisdiction in North America has a link to today’s Canadian province of Quebec. We’ll look at what happened, where you can find ancestral records from each period, and what questions remain to be discovered. 


10:00 AM On the Front Lines: Canadian Military, Militia and Naval Records

From the beginnings of New France, Canada’s borders have been invaded but never conquered. Who were the invaders, and what did they hope to accomplish? Learn about your ancestor’s service defending the early colonies of New France, Lower Canada, and Upper Canada. We will discuss the men who were called upon to fight on the front lines in the Beaver Wars, War of the Conquest, French and Indian War, War of 1812, Rebellions of 1837-1838, and the Fenian Raids; where these wars and battles took place; and how they affected your early Canadian ancestors. 

11:30 AM For King and Country: Service in the First and Second World Wars

Whether fighting on land, sea or air, Canadians greatly contributed to the Allied war efforts during the First and Second World Wars. Recruitment, conscription, key military leaders, the participation of Canadian forces in major battles, and the roles of soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses will be discussed. Military, naval and air force records will be examined, and what was happening on the Home Front will be reviewed. 

12:45 PM Wrap-Up Discussion and Farewell 

Tuition: $429.00 CAD (~$345usd/ £250) 

To register:


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