The Héritage Project is a 10-year initiative to digitize and make accessible online some of Canada’s most popular archival collections, encompassing roughly 40 million pages of primary-source documents. Chronicling the country and its people from the 1600s to the mid-1900s, the completed collection will be a vast and unique resource for Canadian historians, students, and genealogists.
Héritage consists of a wide variety of records being digitized from the treasured holdings of Library and Archives Canada, the sum total of which forms a significant corpus of documentary heritage spanning three centuries. For ease of navigation, the project 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
- A large set of documents relating to Canada’s aboriginal history
- 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 major conflicts, as well as military administration during times of peace
- Landmark papers from prominent Canadians, such as Prime Ministers, Governors General, premiers, cabinet ministers, explorers, scientists, entrepreneurs, writers and artists
Using 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 improve 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.