Genealogy Alphabet Challenge – “A is for Archives”

Today begins the “Genealogy Alphabet Challenge” and I am going to start with “A is for Archives”.

Although the internet is chock full of amazing information on our ancestors and new things are being added everyday, nothing beats the records you can find after hours of scouring the documents contained in the archives!

I live in Ottawa, Ontario and I am lucky enough to live just minutes from the Library and Archives Canada on Wellington Street! I also live about 20 minutes away from the BanQ in Gatineau, Quebec. Since my research primarily deals with the French Canadians in Quebec I have been able to find ALOT of information by going to these archives.

I first visited LAC in 2008 (before I became interested in genealogy) when I was researching War Brides for a research paper I was doing for a women’s studies course in University. The library has 3 floors which consist of reference rooms, a genealogy and family history room, a restricted documents, textual documents and microform consultation room as well as a special collections consultation room. The staff are incredibly helpful, although busy at certain times of the day.  I love the fact that as long a you pre-order your materials, you are able to consult the documents until 11:00pm. This is really great for those of that are working throughout the day but dream all day about the next time we can research!


There are 12 BanQ locations, but the one I frequent is the Gatineau location.  This archive has been a gold mine of information for my French-Canadian ancestors. I would love to go to the main location in Montreal and one day I will. If you ever have the opportunity to visit any of the locations, I would take it! If you go online and find a document that you need but that are too far to visit yourself, they have amazing archivists that will find the document for you and email you a PDF version for a small fee.

Right now all of the material from the archives in Montcerf-Lytton have been moved to the Gatineau location while they are undergoing renovations. This is great for me  as Montcerf-Lytton is 2.5 hours from me and they have all the records I am interested in at this point in my research.

Don’t forget that archives are a very important tool that will have a wealth of information that you cannot find online!

Please come back on Thursday for the next letter in the Genealogy Alphabet Challenge. I will be writing a post on “B is for the Board for Certification of Genealogists”.

Happy Digging!



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