Héritage Project

The Héritage project is a 10-year initiative to digitize and make accessible online some of Canada’s most popular archival collections, encompassing roughly 60 million pages of primary-source documents. Chronicling the country and its people from the 1600s to the mid-1900s, this collection represents a vast and unique resource for Canadian historians, students, and genealogists.

Collections will appear on this portal as they are digitized. Visit the site to see what’s new, or get a taste of what’s coming in our catalogue.

Overview

Héritage consists of a wide variety of unique records now being digitized from the treasured holdings of Library and Archives Canada. The end result will be a significant corpus of documentary heritage spanning three centuries. For ease of navigation, the collection has been divided into five core subject areas:

 

  • • An impressive array of genealogy materials, including immigration records, church records, land records, family histories and papers, voters’ lists, etc.
  • • A large volume of documents relating to Canada’s aboriginal peoples – First Nations, Métis and Inuit
  • • Key early documents from core government departments, including Indian Affairs, Immigration, Health, Agriculture, Railways and Canals, Fisheries and Natural Resources
  • • A rich military history component documenting Canada’s participation in several wars, (War of 1812, First World War, World War II), as well as the administration of the military during times of peace
  • Papers from prominent Canadians, such as Prime Ministers, Governors General, premiers, cabinet ministers, explorers, scientists, entrepreneurs, writers and artists

How to use the site

To get started, choose the collection which best reflects your research interest. Each collection page includes basic finding aids to guide your search, as well as tips on how to navigate the digitized microfilm rolls. This information, drawn from Library and Archives Canada’s MIKAN archival catalogue, was generously shared to help ease of access.

The basic Search can help guide you to a collection which matches your chosen keywords. The Search is a simple form which scans collections for both descriptive information and metadata, such as title words, author/creator names, subjects, as well as the text content of documents, where available.

Towards full-text searching

Because of the hand-written nature of these records, very few pages are currently visible to our text-recognition and search tools. Transcribing the collection to produce the searchable text will take time and resources and is a major objective of the project. Future versions of Héritage will support full-text searching of documents as they are transcribed, bringing out new and massive sets of information for search and discovery. Over the coming years, enhanced metadata and linking will be developed by Canadiana and its Héritage partners, further improving findability.