Monday, 19 May 2008

A tale of two Gazettes

The first products of a project to digitize historic Canada Gazettes are now online at the Library and Archives Canada website.

Perhaps the Canada Gazette isn't high on the list of places you'd look in your genealogy research. What might you find there?

According to their documentation "In it, you will find published new statutes (acts of Parliament) and regulations, proposed regulations, decisions of administrative boards and an assortment of government notices. Also included are private sector notices that are required by statute to be published so as to inform and engage the public.

Still doesn't seem promising. I wondered if, like the London Gazette, it might contain notices of federal medals and other honours awarded, notices in advance of probate and of bankruptcy. The documentation didn't help so I tried my usual search, on Northwood. The result, shown above, is a list of citations and links to gif and pdf images.

The first hit, when the image eventually appeared, was to the discharge from bankruptcy on a man living on Northwood Road.

In the immortal words, it was deja vu all over again. When London Gazette archives first became available online the results were the same type of non-informative listing. I spent far too much time waiting for images to download and then finding the reference was to Northwood as a place name, not a surname.

Now that's been fixed so you see a snippet of context alongside the citation and can quickly skip over the results that don't interest you.

That's an improvement I hope LAC will be quick to make. If they're interested in having genealogists use the resource, and why wouldn't they, they might also provide a short guide pointing to genealogically relevant resources in the Canada Gazette and providing search hints.

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