Getting Started Guide

Starting Out

  • The best place to start tracing your family genealogy is with yourself. Write down your name, birth date, place of birth, and where and when you were baptized. If you have siblings, write down the same information regarding them.
  • Find out your parents' names (including mother's maiden name), birth dates, places of birth, where and when they were baptized, where and when they were married (include the priest and any witnesses). Also try to find out if they had any children who predeceased them (that you are unaware of).
  • Grandparents' names (including grandmother's maiden name), birth dates, places of birth, where and when they were baptized, where and when they were married (include the priest and any witnesses). Try to find out if they had any children who predeceased them.
  • Continue this pattern for all of your ancestors, including aunts and uncles, great grandparents, etc.

Some good sources of genealogical information include:

  • Living relatives:

Ask them for any information that they can give you, including     nicknames, birth dates and locations, marriage dates and locations, death dates and locations, parents' and grandparents' names, where they lived as children, country / province / territory / state / city that their parents and grandparents originated from, when they or their parents or grandparents came to this location.

  • Your home / relatives homes:

Look for hope chests, letters, photographs, baby books, important papers (birth, marriage, or death certificates), funeral books, and greeting cards (these will sometimes give you information on who was alive at that time and spouse's names).

  • Library:

At Greater Sudbury Public Library, we provide access to free online genealogical databases. The Library also subscribes to PRDH (Programme de recherche en démographie historique). You may search the indexes of the National Archives of Canada and the Archives of Ontario and order birth, marriage, death, ship, immigration, and census records for information on your ancestors. We have some church and cemetery records for Sudbury and the surrounding area, local newspapers on microfilm (search these for obituaries, and wedding and birth announcements), genealogical dictionaries, family history indexes, and experienced staff who are able to assist you in beginning your search (time permitting).

  • Court Records:

Records created by the various levels of courts throughout Ontario, including court proceeding, criminal indictment files, wills and divorces are available through the Archives of Ontario.

  • Land Records:

Documents relating to the grant, sale, or lease of Crown Lands are available through the Archives of Ontario.

  • Cemeteries:

Headstones often give important information that you may not have been able to locate elsewhere, such as birth dates, death dates, spouse and children's names, and sometimes places of origin.

  • Obituaries:

These are useful not only for birth and death dates, but for information about the deceased person's family and biographical data.

  • Census:

Start with the last available census and work backwards. You can use the census to find out names, occupations, naturalization and year of arrival information, number of children, and birth dates.

  • Ship Records:

These are useful in discovering where your ancestors originated from, family members who came with them, arrival dates, and the number of children in the family.

  • Military / Veteran's Records:

These can give you service and medical records (especially in the U.S.), marriage and death information, birth dates of veteran and any children.

  • Church Records:

Look for marriage records and membership records (for family information).

  • Naturalization Records:

These can give you spouse and children's names, birth dates and locations, and country of origin.

  • Yearbooks, school records, report cards, alumni lists, scrapbooks, letters, family bibles, diaries, cookbooks:

These are all helpful when tracing female ancestors.

  • City directories:

Look for information on spouse, occupation, and address.

  • Genealogical Databases:

Information on thousands of names and families are contained in databases available on the Internet or through Greater Sudbury Public Library. Links to these databases are provided on this website. Information includes available birth, marriage, and death dates, spouse, children's, and parents' names, and location of the life event.