28 June 2012

Canada day weekend free access to Ancestry.ca

The following is a notice from Ancestry.ca:

June 27, 2012 (TORONTO) – In honour of Canada Day, Ancestry.ca, Canada’s favourite family history website, is offering free access to 40 million historical records that outline just how far the country has come as a nation in the past 145 years.

Available free from June 27 through July 2, the records cover the years leading up to and following Confederation and include censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, military records and many more.

“Many Canadians today celebrate the diversity of our nation but that multi-culturalism only came following a period of incredible growth and development in the years immediately before and after nationhood,” said Ancestry.ca’s Julie Wingate. “These records really paint a picture of how much we’ve changed as a country and give us a real reason to celebrate Canada Day.”

In 1871, just four short years after Confederation, Canada conducted its first Census as a nation and the results showed it was a country made up of British and French immigrants and a stark lack of diversity.

In fact, according to the 1871 Census of Canada:
Just 101 people are listed as being of Russian origin, compared to 500,000 in 2006
Nearly 900 people are listed as being Italian, compared to 1.4 million in 2006
Only one man is listed as being of Chinese descent in the 1871 Census, compared to 1.3 million in 2006

In 1871, John Koolah was a 48-year-old widower living in Halifax. Born in Macau, he lived alone in his own residence, the only person to appear in the Census listing him or herself as being Chinese. A decade later things had changed drastically, with almost 4,000 people of Chinese origin listed in the 1881 Census of Canada. A generation after that, between the years 1895 and 1905, massive waves of immigration saw more than 133,000 people arrive in Canada by ship from China.

By 1914, many of the immigrants from China and other parts of the world were fighting for their adopted county. Among them was young Tung On Hong, living in Cochrane, Ontario, who volunteered for his country in the First World War. An unmarried cook, the 20-year-old volunteered in 1917, at the Sudbury Mobilization Centre in northern Ontario.

“Historical records help bring history alive,” said Wingate. “We can see through these records how the country changes over the years from a nation predominately European in origin to one that today is a mix of people from across the globe.  When looking up your own family, these records take on even more meaning. They hold the clues that allow you to discover some of those amazing stories in your family’s history, which is for most people a story of immigration.”

Between June 27 and July 2, millions of records will be accessible to Canadians for free on Ancestry.ca. The records are from some of the largest collections on Ancestry.ca, including:

·         Canadian Passenger Lists and Ocean Arrivals - outlining the masses of people who arrived by ship -- the only form of international travel available to people at the time -- at port cities across Canada

·         The 1871 Census of Canada - the first Census Canada conducted as a nation, which gives a snapshot of the life of the people living at the time, including who they lived with, their ages, their jobs, the birthplaces of their parents, their neighbours and more

·         Vital records (i.e. birth, marriage and death records) from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia - outlining the significant moments in the people’s lives like children born, marriages and deaths.

Visit www.ancestry.ca to search all of the records being made available for free this weekend.

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