STEPS TO TAKE
Tracing your ancestors need not be a daunting task. It is made much easier if you develop a research plan that begins with you and works back to the first ancestor who came to North America. There are many records on this side of the pond that can bring surprising results. When I started my search, all I had to go on was the name of the village my father was born in. On my mother’s side I had a family tree, prepared by my cousin, which pointed to my maternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother. I have managed to go back four generations on my father’s side and seven generations on my mother’s side.
Start With Yourself
Write down what you already know about your family and yourself. Use a Pedigree Chart, also called an Ancestral Chart, to write the information you already know about yourself and your family. If you do not know exact dates and places, estimate them. You know the date your were born, do you know the day of the week it fell on? Here's a calculator which will reveal that information.
Review what is missing
Circle or highlight any missing or incomplete information on the Pedigree Chart. For example, you are not sure of where your parents got married. This directs you to finding their marriage certificate. You will probably find lots of incomplete information asa you fill out the Pedigree Chart such as, "Do you know who your Great-Grandparents were?" There were eight of them. Decide on what information is easiest to get, get it and work from there.
What Information do you Already Have?
Gather all your records. Start with the records you already have in your possession and gather them into one place. If you do not have any records, ask your relatives if they have any and if they can share them with you. Organize them and see what family history information already exists.
Talk to your Family
Explain to your family and family friends that you are compiling a family history and you need their help. Record any useful information and stories they may have. Ask them if they have any birth, marriage, and death certificates, letters, pictures or other records that may apply.
FIVE STEPS TO FINDING AN ANCESTOR
Step One: Locate their birthplace. It is crucial that you know the exact place of their birth. Ask a relative for the name of the village/town plus the name of a nearby larger town the birth village/town. There may be a number of similar named villages, so you have to situate the correct town by knowing what other town it is near. If you don’t have a relative who can direct you, then there are a number of documents, which can reveal the name of the village/town. Your ancestor probably filled out Naturalization papers at some point.
In Canada, they also may have filled out a National Registration 1940 form. This was compulsory registration in Canada during World War Two. Everyone over the age of 16 was to fill in a detailed questionnaire that asked for their name, address, age, date of birth, conjugal status, dependents, country of birth (persons registered and parents only), nationality, racial origin, languages, education, general health, class of occupation, occupation or craft, employment status, work experience by type, mechanical or other abilities, latent skills, wartime circumstances, previous military service.
Step Two: Search the Family
History Library for any microfilms on the village.
Go to http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp
Step Three: Go to your nearest Family History Center and order the films. The film rentals are around $5.00 each and you get them for a 30-day period to review at the Family History Center. They will call you when the film is in, usually in 2-3 weeks. You then book time on their microfilm reader. They will place the film in a filing cabinet for you after each viewing (the film remains on their premises). You can renew the films for additional 30-day periods.
Step Four: Start with the nearest time frame and work backwards in time. If a film lists birth from say 1865 to 1902, start from 1902 and scroll back to 1865. Note down the details for each family name you encounter and in particular, the house number. This will tell you where each family resided. There may be a number of families with the same name in the village. They were probably related in some way.
Step Five: Join a genealogy group such as the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group (TUGG) for additional help. Look for a Ukrainian or Polish genealogy group in your locale. If there are none, then join a general group such as the Ontario Genealogical Society, which has Branches throughout Ontario or a similar provincial or state genealogical society.
Fill in a pedigree chart, starting with yourself. You should gather all your Vital Records (birth, marriage, civil and church records). Then write down everything you know about your family and put it on Pedigree and Family Group charts. Fill in your parents and their parents, if known. Write down everything you "know" about them. When did they immigrate? Were they born in Canada? Where were they born? When did they die? When were they married? These are your starting points.
Look for any documents they signed themselves. Are there Homestead, land, school district records, marriage registrations for themselves and birth registrations for their children.
Did they change their name? Beware of name changes. When I searched the passenger records for my father, using the current spelling for his surname, i.e. Onyschuk. I came up empty. My sister later mentioned to me that my father had a Polish spelling on his passport i.e. Onyszczuk. I tried this different spelling in the passenger records search window and up popped the record source. I now knew the date my father arrived, the boat he was on, how long the trip took, how much money he had on him and who he was going to meet in Canada.
It was common to informally make changes by the ancestor themselves because their Ukrainian names were hard to spell and pronounce. During World War 1 and II many people changed their names because of ethnic discrimination. Name changes often were direct translations of the name into English or changing the spelling to how it was pronounced.
Sometimes, others made name changes. Examples of this were the purser on the ship, the census taker, land agents, teachers or clergy. The immigrant often adopted these spellings of their name thinking this was how their name was spelt "in English". My maternal great-grandfather, Andrew Boyachuk had documents with the following spellings: Andrij Bojaszek, Bojaczok, Bojachek, Andri Bojaczuk. I feel certain that there are probably some other variations floating around. My father once spelt his name as Onyshchuk on a document.
Any formal name changes were registered with the provincial government. These legal name changes were then published in the provincial gazette and the local newspaper. The Gazette is the official journal published by each provincial government to make or place statements that are legally required by law. Copies are found in provincial archives or legislative libraries. Documentation about the name change is available from Vital Statistics in the province where the legal name change took place.
It is important to keep a list of all the spelling variations you encounter. This may open up valuable document sources.
WHEN DID THEY COME TO NORTH AMERICA?
Knowing this date will help you determine what was taking place in Ukraine. Was it then under Polish rule or Austrian rule or Russian rule or Soviet rule? This date will also help you determine what the political/religious boundaries were when they left for North America.
WHERE DID YOUR ANCESTORS COME FROM AND WHERE DID THEY SETTLE?
You need a geographical location for where the family lived and where they left from in the Old Country.
Note: where the family said they were
living when they told you the family story. Sometimes this was the
political name at the time rather than the name of the country when
they left. Check to see if there are documents that they brought
with them to trace this migration.
Did your ancestors carry on with the same occupation they had in the Ukraine or were they now farmers, tradesmen, or labourers?
What language did they speak in the Old Country? Did they learn to speak English in Canada? Were they able to read and write? What language(s)?
What religion did they practice in
the Old Country and here in Canada?
Were some of your ancestors born and married in Canada? If so, then there will be birth and marriage records available. As well there will be death records for those who died here. These records will fall under the Privacy Act, which means that they may not be available to you unless a certain period of time has elapsed. For example to access death records, you would have to supply proof that your ancestor has been dead for at least 20 years.
The civil registration of births, marriages and deaths is a provincial and territorial responsibility. Inquiries concerning access and fees should be addressed to the appropriate office.
Birth records can provide the following information: name, date and place of the birth, tells which child this is, how many children the mother has had and how many are still living, gives the names of the parents, including the mother's maiden name, the parent's ages when the child was born, their racial origin, occupation and the date and place of parent's marriage.
It is important to note down: Who gave the information, who wrote it down, who signed the document and how they signed their name.
Some Alternates to birth records include: Baptismal records, birth announcements in the newspaper or the family bible.
Marriage records can provide the following information: names of the bride and groom, their ages, their places of birth, the place of birth of their fathers, the maiden name of their mothers, whether they were a spinster/bachelor or widow/widower, or divorced, the occupation of the groom, the names of their parents, whether married by license or banns, the date and place of the marriage, the religious denomination of the bride and groom and the officiating clergy plus the names and addresses of the witnesses.
You should note down: Who gave the information, who wrote it down, who signed the document and how they signed their name.
Alternate marriage sources can be the family bible, a newspaper write-up, subsequent anniversary write-ups especially the silver or golden weddingcelebrations.
Death records can provide the following
information: name, date and place of death, sex, age, whether single
or married, the name of the husband or wife using the wife's maiden
name, place of birth, religion, name of the physician and the name
and signature of the informant, it may provide racial origin, widowed
or divorced, date of birth and age in years, months and days, name
and birth place of the father, maiden name and place of birth of
the mother, name and signature of the informant, address and relationship
to the deceased, place of burial, cremation or removal, date of burial,
undertaker's signature or person acting as such along with their
address.In some years they asked for the length of residence in Canada,
in the province where they lived and the place where they died.
Alternates death record sources can be church records, prayer card given at thefuneral, obituary/ newspaper announcement, cemetery, funeral home or monument company records. You can also also check if there is a cemetary index.
The next section Obtaining Canadian and American Vital Records explains how to obtain Canadian and American Death Records.
Vital records are the best places to look for dates of events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. In addition, they often give information such as parents' or children's names, occupation, place of residence, and age. Civil registration of these important lifetime events didn't begin until the late 1800's, so if you are looking for records before that time, you will most likely find them in thechurch to which your ancestors belonged.
For addresses and holdings, select one of the topics listed below:
The first wave of Ukrainians immigrants started arriving between 1895 until WW1. The next wave came following the War until the mid-1930’s. The third wave came following WW2. This description is excerpted from the Archives of Canada website.
1865 to 1922
An old nominal card index, of questionable accuracy, exists for arrivals at Québec from 1865 to 1869. The microfilm copy of the index is available for loan. Each index card provides name, sometimes age, name of ship, date of arrival at Québec and the reel number on which that list appears. When consulting the index, beware of spelling variations and misfilingsA similiar index exists for arrivals at Halifax from January 1881 to February 1882 on microfilm reel C-15712.
The following URL will explain how to obtain these records.
For arrivals from 1919 to 1922, it is suggested that you first search for a possible record in the Form 30A series. http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/10/100804_e.html
Passenger lists 1925 to 1935
The lists are arranged by port and date of arrival. A series of old nominal indexes exists for this period. In cooperation with the Pier 21 Society, the entries in those indexes have been input into a database. Note that these indexes do not include the names of returning Canadians, tourists, visitors and passengers in transit to the United States. To locate those names, you will have to search the actual passenger lists for the relevant port and period
You can search the records yourself by one of the following means:
• You can search this data base by going to:
• You can visit the National Archives and use their self-serve microfilm.
The headquarters building of the National Archives of Canada is located at 395 Wellington Street, in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, a few blocks west of the Parliament Buildings and next to the Supreme Court of Canada. Limited visitor parking is available on the west side of the building (2 hour maximum). Street and pay parking is available in the vicinity.
• You may borrow microfilm from the National Archives through the inter-institutional loan arrangement.
--Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Post-1935 Immigration Records
Applications for copies of documents
must be submitted on an “Access to Information Request Form” by
a Canadian citizen or an individual present in Canada.
The request must be accompanied by a signed consent from the person concerned or proof that he/she has been deceased twenty years. Proof of death can be a copy of a death record, a newspaper obituary or a photograph of the gravestone showing name and death date.
The request should include the following information: full name at time of entry into Canada, date of birth, year of entry. Additional information is helpful, such as country of birth, port of entry, and names of accompanying family members.
For access to your own landing record, please visit or write to your nearest Canada Immigration Centre or Canadian Consular Office. Fee: $30.00 for a certified copy for legal purposes. If you do not require a certified copy, you can submit your request on a Personal Information Request Form at no charge.
Copies of Access to Information Request Forms and Personal Information Request Forms can be obtained from most Canadian public libraries and federal government offices. http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/10/100807_e.html
The Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers (LI-RA-MA) collection (MG 30 E406) consists of documents created by the Imperial Russian Consular offices in Canada during the period from 1898 to 1922. The Passport/Identity Papers series consists of about 11,400 files on Russian immigrants from the Imperial Russian Empire who settled in Canada, including Jews, Ukrainians and Finns. http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/10/100808_e.html
Before 1917 and from 1977 - 1985, one had to be in Canada for three years before one could be naturalized. From 1917 - 1977 and from 1985 to the present, on had to have been in Canada for five years.
From 1917 to the present
Information Found in a Naturalization File
In addition to the application form for naturalization, there is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Report, an Affidavit Proving Petition and an Oath of Allegiance. Other documents could show why they wanted to be naturalized, information about their husband or wife and children and who vouched for their character and reputation.
An index of those who were naturalized, along with their addresses and countries of origin, was published in the Canada Gazette. Although naturalization indexes ended in 1947, the lists continued to be published until 1951. From 1917 to April 1921, the lists are in numeric order. After this time, they are listed in alphabetical order.
Copies are found in the National Library of Canada or on microfilm or fiche in the legislative or university libraries in each province. You can do some on-line searches at the following URL: http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/06/0603_e.html
Copies are available if submitted on an Access to Information Request Form by a Canadian citizen or a resident of Canada. There is a $5 fee payable to the Receiver General. Send to: Department of Citizenship and Immigration, Public Rights Administration, 300 Salter Street, 3rd Floor, Section D, Ottawa, Ontario K1A lL1. The request must be accompanied by a signed consent from the person concerned or proof that he/she has been deceased twenty years. The request should include the following information: full name, date and place of birth and, if possible, the number of the Canadian Citizenship or naturalization certificate. The Access to Information Form is available at some public libraries or Federal Government Offices. Copies of the form and information about the Access to Information Act are available on the Internet at the National Archives of Canada.
Alternate Sources for naturalization papers are: copies of the Naturalization Certificate may be found in your family papers or may be found in the Homestead Papers. From 1918 - 1938 the lists of those who were granted or refused citizenship were printed in the Canada Gazette, the official paper of the Canadian parliament. Copies are found in the National Library of Canada or on microfilm or fiche in the legislative or university libraries in each province.
Census Records For Western Canada 1881 - 1901
The 1891 census asks for birth place of the individual and the birth place of their father and mother.
Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906
In order to track the high rates of population growth in western Canada, the Canadian government called for a special census of the prairie provinces (Manitoba, and the two newly created provinces of Saskatchewan, and Alberta). This endeavour continued every 10 years from 1906 to 1956, at which time the Census of the Northwest Provinces became part of the Canada-wide census. Through this research tool you can access digitized images of original census returns, which recorded the names of family members, their sex, marital status, year of immigration to Canada, post office address, etc.
There was compulsory registration in Canada during World War Two. Everyone over the age of 16 was to fill in a detailed questionnaire that asked for their name, address, age, date of birth, conjugal status, dependents, country of birth (persons registered and parents only), nationality, racial origin, languages, education, general health, class of occupation, occupation or craft, employment status, work experience by type, mechanical or other abilities, latent skills, wartime circumstances, previous military service. The form was sent to Ottawa and each individual was issued with an identification card which they were required to present whenever they were stopped by a member of the constabulary. Not all questions were always answered. These forms still survive.
Census Pension Searches Unit
Canada needed farmers to settle the west so immigration agents were sent throughout the British Isles and Europe to let people know that the Canadian government was offering homestead grants of 160 acres for "free". There was a $10 registration fee to make it legal.
To qualify for the homestead grant the farmer had to:
It is important to note:
1. The date of entry. Families generally
arrived in the country within a three month period of this date.
This date could help you with when to begin your search for a passenger
list. Check the date to see if they were here in time to be included
in the 1901 or earlier census. The census was generally taken in
Homestead files are available from:
1. The archives of the province where
they were located.
. If you order a copy of the file, you will receive a certificate to indicate that the homesteader did receive a Patent. All the original homestead files are in the Provincial Archives.
For a list of those who purchased land from the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), check the CPR Database at the Glenbow Archives web site. http://www.glenbow.org/lasearch/cpr.htm The initial grant is found at Glenbow Archives,130 9th Avenue South East, Calgary, AB, T2G 0P3. The subsequent records are found at the Land Titles Office for that location.
Canada Red Cross
Below are some general questions to
consider in your genealogical search. They are by no means complete
but can give you some additional places for you to search.
• Have I found where all the photographs and documents are located and have I made copies of the important ones? Have I called my relatives to see what pictures they are willing to share?
• Have I interviewed my living relatives for information and stories?
• Am I filling in my family tree on a pedigree chart? Am I using forms and charts to help organize my work?
• Do I have a filing system and do I have a good genealogy software program to help organize my information?
• Have I searched the Internet search engines for my family names?
• Have I searched the records of “Ancestry World Tree”, “Rootsweb World Connect”, “MyFamily.com's Online Family Tree”, to see if my family names appear?
• Am I using the various Message
Boards in my search? Ukraine Genealogy Forum http://genforum.genealogy.com/ukraine/.
• Am I familiarizing myself with the various library and archive resources there are around Toronto and in other locations and Online?
• Am I using the LDS Family History Centers in my search? Have I searched their parish records for Birth, Marriage and Death records?
• Have I searched the Gazetteers for my ancestor’s villages/towns?
• With regard to growing up
• With regard to the trip over:
• Have I searched the Passenger lists records on their trip over? Do I have a picture of the boat?
• Have I searched the Census Records here and over there?
• Have I searched the Land Records of my ancestors?
• Have I searched the City Directories where they lived in Canada?
• Have I searched the Death records and Cemetery Records where they died?
• Are there Military Records of my ancestors?
• Have I checked their Naturalization Records and the National Registration Records for 1940?
• What about Probate & Wills records?