• Census returns. These provide useful genealogical information, including country of birth and religious affiliation. In some cases, the Canadian census return can help establish at least a rough emigration date. Generally the census will only record “Ireland” for place of birth, but sometimes more details are included. Archives Canada has digitized the returns for 1851, 1901 and 1911, and these are available online free of charge at Archives Canada.
  • Parish records. At least for Catholics (but perhaps also for Anglicans and members of other denominations), these are vital for women’s maiden names. Moreover, the RC records sometimes supply information about Irish origins. These are at least as important as gravestone inscriptions, especially since many people were buried without headstones but with a record having been made in the parish register. For Ontario (and perhaps also for some other Canadian provinces, though not for QuĂ©bec).
  • Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths. For Ontario: from 1857 for marriages, from 1869 for births and burials. Marriage records and death records (which were based on the parish records) can help establish dates and sometimes mention county of origin in Ireland.
  • A gravestone inscription or newspaper obituary. These often give the person’s place of origin in Ireland.
  • Unfortunately, immigration and shipping records in Canada are not as well kept as in the US. However, the National Archives of Canada, has good genealogy home page on its web site.
  • Will / Probate / Administration papers. These can be a useful source of more general family information.
  • Family letters / bibles. Through talking to relatives, people often find that old papers are still in existence that can help with this research

Many thanks to Mary Catherine Moran who contributed the information on census returns, parish records and civil registration that appears on this page.