One of the problems when you don't live close to the LAC is that making a trip there to see items they haven't digitized on their site difficult. For many of us, it's not going to be a day trip. What is little advertised though is that some of the microfilms are digitized on the website Canadiana in their Heritage collection. I stumbled onto this just recently. Then a couple of days later, it came up in a Canadian genealogy chat session I was logged onto. It's like the universe was telling me to write about it.
The past couple of weeks I was looking into home children records for a friend on Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Way down near the bottom of the page describing their collection of Home Children records, it explained under accessing and obtaining copies that certain microfilms have been digitized on the Heritage website.
Now I haven't used Heritage very much before. I find it very difficult to use, and there are no instructions on the site to help you. For example, if you type in "Home children" into the search box, there are 446 results. The results have rather ambiguous names like [Governor General] numbered files T-1482 or Canadian Lutheran World Relief Fonds. Also, nothing is indexed, so you will have to wade through the images on each microfilm. [Governor General] numbered files T-1482 has 2086 images. Canadian Lutheran World Relief Fonds has 22 reels. I didn't click on all of them to see how many images, but the ones I did ranged from 800- 1300 for each reel. Now, sometimes we have to do a lot of browsing in genealogy to find the one little bit of information, but this borders on insanity. But I recently learned that if you search by microfilm number, you can find out so much information, without making you want to beat your head against a wall.
What you want to take note of in the search results on LAC is the microfilm number. Here's a screen shot of the home child I was looking into:
By going to image 2, I find out it starts with ships that arrived in July of 1907. Since I know from the screenshot above he arrived 2 August 1907, I started jumping ahead in the images by using the drop down menu in the top left. I then found him on image 360 in the middle of the page.
So then went back to the main screen and typed in the second microfilm mentioned in the comments section "C-4732". Once I got the results and clicked on Immigration Program : Headquarters Central Registry Files : C-4732, I then did the same thing I did with the first roll I looked at. From the LAC information, I knew I was looking for Volume 64, File 3081, part 1. So I jumped back and forth through the images, At the bottom of the page it shows the file number and part. When I got to file 3081 part 1, I soon realized it was in chronological order. So I was able to keep flipping forward until I came to what I was looking for. Not only did I find a manifest with his name, but a copy of a medical certificate with the name of the doctor who gave 73 children a clean bill of health to travel (Wilfred is listed on the next page):
I also found a letter stating that Mr. Merry, the man who brought Wilfred's group over, was paid 2 dollars per child. While I found it interesting, I also found it sad.
Now, not all home children microfilms are on here. I also put a microfilm reel for one of my own home children "Dugal Herd" in the search box, and it wasn't in the Heritage Collection.
You can also find microfilm reels from other collections on here. I randomly started going through different LAC collections and typing in microfilm numbers that I found. Here's the collections that I found microfilms on Heritage. Take note that I didn't try every microfilm listed in the collections below, just a few from each one:
- Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930
- Placide Gaudet Fonds (Acadian Research)
- Sir Frederick Haldimand Papers (Loyalist Research)
- Vladimir Julian Kaye fonds (Ukranian Research)
- Report on deportation of Germans from South Africa C-10596
- Deportation of insane person 1925-1930 C-7843
As you can see from my sampling above, you can find microfilm reels from many different categories. I also found many where the microfilm wasn't there. So play around with it. The lack of search capabilities on the microfilm reel itself is a bit tedious. But, if making a trip to LAC is not in the cards for you, a little tedium at your computer screen is worth it.