Monday, 5 October 2009

Do you need research at Library and Archives Canada?

Although Library and Archives Canada have several of their most popular data sets online, either on their own website at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html or through their partnership with ancestry.ca, there is still a lot of information that can only be obtained by going to LAC, or having someone do the research for you.

If your request is fairly straightforward you may find LAC staff able to help you directly. There is a range of client services described at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/contact/index-e.html. You access this help through one of the online forms: Ask Us a Question Form; Genealogy Inquiry Form (including requests for military service personnel files), or one of the other means described at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/contact/index-e.html. This is a free service, but the amount of time they will spend on your query is limited and you will have to pay for any documents you want sent to you. The backlog on the service can get quite long.

You may also get free help by sending an email to Al Lewis at the Bytown or Bust website (scroll way down to the bottom of the page at www.bytown.net ) who may post your query on his site, especially if its has an Irish-Ottawa Valley connection. Also, don't overlook the option of posting a query to a Rootsweb mailing list, they are still in business although traffic is way down. Try CAN-ONT-CARLETON for Ottawa area queries.

If you want more prompt, personal, and professional (or semi-professional) help you may wish to retain the services of one of the freelance researchers listed at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/the-public/005-2060-e.html. The researchers are listed in alphabetic name order with brief information on their specialty and qualifications where provided. No, I'm not on the list as I don't provide that type of service. If you're considering retaining one of them it's a good idea to Google the name to get a perspective on how active they are, especially in the type of problem for which you're looking for help.

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