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Ancestry.ca - The Ancestry Newsletter for Canadians
February 2009 Edition
We’ve got a jam-packed newsletter this month full of tips & collections coming soon, a competition and we are Celebrating Black History Month. We love reading your stories and your feedback - so please keep them coming!

Feature Story

Celebrating Canada’s Black History Month

Photo Source: Trials and triumphs: the story of African-Canadians, Lawrence Hill -- Toronto : Umbrella Press, c1993
Ancestry.ca celebrates Black History Month with an unprecedented array of online historical records that trace the lives of black Canadians dating back to pre-Confederation, including records from the First World War’s Second Construction Battalion, the only all-black military battalion in Canadian history. These records are a treasure trove of information for almost 800,000 black Canadians living today.
Public records, personal narratives, legal documents and letters all detail the contributions of the black community in defending our country, in government, in forging new ideas and in helping lead thousands to freedom through their involvement in the Underground Railroad.
Some of the significant black Canadians that appear in these records include members of Canada’s Second Construction Battalion. At the beginning of the First World War, black men were turned away at recruiting stations when they tried to enlist for battle. Many would not accept the policy that excluded them based on racial ground.
After lobbying the government, 605 men from across Canada formed a segregated unit on July 5, 1916 in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The attestation papers of these men can be found in the Canadian Soldiers of World War I collection, notably:
  • Roy Fells from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, was awarded the Military Medal while serving with the famed 25th Battalion
  • Curley Christian, was the only quadrilateral amputee to survive the war and he was present at the unveiling of the Vimy Ridge memorial in 1936
  • Jeremiah Jerry Jones from Truro, Nova Scotia, was remembered for crossing the bloody battlefield at Vimy Ridge to take an enemy machine gun nest
  • James Grant from St. Catharine’s Ontario, was awarded the Military Cross in 1918
See other prominent figures like: Abraham Doras Shadd, William Edward Hall.
Click here for a list of great Record Collections to search for your Ancestors!
For the many Canadians who can trace their family roots to slavery in the United States, Ancestry.ca offers access to a wealth of records through the African American Research Center.
Ancestry.ca Top 5 Things...
You May Not Know About Records
  1. Narrowing your search …if you do not enter enough detailed information about your ancestor, sometimes there is a deluge of the same name in the mass results. This means you'll have to scroll through pages and pages of records to find what you’re looking for.
    There is an easier way to narrow down your search results. If you look at the right hand side of the page, under the search box, you’ll see "categories of records" you can search, including records of birth, marriage & death, military records, pictures, census & voters lists, immigration and more. And under that you can also "narrow by origin" like "Only Records from Canada."
    In some cases you can even narrow your search by year (like Census), by birth, marriage OR death and in the military category there are options like pension, casualties, awards and decorations of honour, draft and more.
    Search Now!
  2. Fingers tired of typing in all of the information in the search box? There are a few different ways you can expedite the process and save typing time.
    • If you go the individual “people” page – underneath the overview of information there is a link that says, “Search Historical Records” and it fills all of the information in for you.
    • In your family tree – if you hover over a name it gives you three choices “view profile”, “edit” or “search records” – click search records and it will fill the information in for you.
    • In the "people" page on the right-hand side, about half way down, there is another link for "search historical records"
  3. Searching the web for a particular person? On the right-hand side of the “people page” of your ancestor, about half way down you’ll see a “search the web for (person’s name)” Click that link and it will search Google using different options. For example: "Jack Davies" OR "Jack * Davies" OR "Davies, Jack" to bring you all Google results. (You can type these options in manually for any Google search)
  4. Easier ways to search the web for “persons” name
    read 4,5 >
Ancestry.ca New Records – Search Now!
Ancestry.caUnited States
Canadian Civil Servants Lists of Canada
Ancestry.ca All About You
Great Tool to Get To Know Your Family
Everyday is family day here at Ancestry.ca and even though the official day has passed (for some Provinces) we wanted to bring your attention to a great print-out you can use any time of the year. It’s a question designed to help you get to know your family, spend some quality time with them and discover some details to help with your story.
Click Here for the Free Booklet
You asked for it & it’s coming!
Around February 26th – but we’re not telling you what! Not even a hint – there’s no shaky leaf in this story! Keep your eyes peeled for more information on the site and in the news - especially during that week.
Please send us your stories about your family and how Ancestry.ca helped you discover your story. Email us at: feedback@ancestry.ca and you may see your story in the next edition of the monthly newsletter or in the upcoming Ancestry.ca blog!

What's New
Ancestry.ca Black History Month
Ancestry.ca Win Prizes
Ancestry.ca Brag of the Month
Ancestry.ca All About You
Ancestry.ca New Records
Ancestry.ca Coming Soon
Ancestry.ca Niche Records
Ancestry.ca Top 5 Things…
Ancestry.ca Win prizes
You have the chance to win a WestJet Gift Certificate plus weekly prizes just by…
Playing our game! We’ve created WordStump an addictively fun and exciting word game with some great prizes. It launched February 11th and runs until April 10th and anyone can play! Canadians have a chance to win weekly $100 Chapters gift cards plus a $1500 WestJet gift certificate so play often, and pass it on to your friends and family for more chances to win.
Play Now!
Ancestry.ca Coming Soon
  • Irish Canadian Emigration Records, 1823 -1849
  • Canadian Border Entries, 1908 - 1935
  • Roman Catholic Registers, 1828 - 1870
Black History Month in Canada
  • Historical Postcards, 1890s–1960s
  • London Parish & Poor Law Records, 1500s - 1900s
  • War Graves of the British Empire
  • Italian Vital Records, 1800s - 1900s
  • Records of Aliens Arriving in England, 1794 - 1921
  • Invention Patents, 1790 –1909
  • WWII Draft Cards, 1940 - 1947 (US)
  • School Yearbooks, 1900 to Present (US)
  • U.S. Prison Records, 1800s -1900s
  • Bavarian Army Rosters, WWI
  • Slave Manifests Filed at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807 -1860
  • Sweden, Kugleberg Newspaper Clips, 1888-1904
  • Update to Hamburg Passenger Lists – 700,000 new names
  • Montepulcanio Tribunale Civil Records
  • Australia Electoral Rolls, 1901 - 1936
  • Bureau of Ships Photographs updated
Ancestry.ca Brag of the Month
Customer Brag of the Month
Frontiersman, Early Settlers & Manitoba Golf.
A few hours & an unbelievable Canadian Lineage
Julie Wingate from our Marketing Department in Toronto has a great family story to share.
Recently, Julie spent a few hours looking for relatives on Ancestry.ca. She knew her Grandparents’ names and their parents’ names (Julie’s Great Grandparents) and within minutes she found census records. On the Canadian census records she found details about a second marriage for her Great Grandfather, dates and occupations and much more.
WJ McLean c.1885To make a long story short, Julie found out that she’s related to Alexander Hunter Murray of the Mackenzie River district. Murray established an outpost at Fort Yukon, in Russian Alaska, and was also an artist. He kept a daily journal of his activities (which has been published by the Public Archives of Canada) along with his sketches of the area and its people. Julie is also related to Chief Trader W. J. (Big Bear) McLean, of 1885 Rebellion fame and a number of other frontiersmen and frontier ladies.
read more >
Send Us Your Brag
Send your interesting story to feedback@ancestry.ca and it could be featured in next month’s edition!
Ancestry.ca Niche Records
You didn’t know existed
Montreal Snowshoe Club, 1886 - photo: The McCord Museum
Ancestry.ca has niche record collections like:

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