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ARCHIVED - AVITUS - Directory of Resources

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The Latin word Avitus means "from ancestors," which today may be rendered as "ancestral." Name used by a Roman emperor and in the fifth century by an archbishop of Vienne, in the Dauphiné region of France; he was one of the most distinguished prelates of his time, known for his wisdom and virtue.


Genealogists and people interested in family history want access to a large amount of information. In order to meet these needs, the Canadian Genealogy Centre is making available an online directory of Canadian genealogical resources. This directory allows users to find genealogical resources available in Canada, searching by geographical area, time or type of resource.

This directory was developed as part of the Genealogy and Family History initiative to support the genealogy community by promoting its available resources.

The Database

The directory points to resources (institutions, online databases, etc.) but does not access their contents. In other words, the search engine links to databases described as resources but does not actually search the databases themselves. The search engine includes an interface that allows users to search using keywords and/or names and/or dates.

The directory includes descriptions for:

  • Institutions: family associations, libraries, university research centres, archives, museums, genealogical societies, historical societies.
  • Information resources: databases, catalogues, PDF files, alphabetical lists, pages of links. These resources, dealing with various subjects related to genealogical research, are available online.

The directory contains resources that meet the following criteria:

  • They are of interest to genealogists and people interested in family history.
  • They are duly constituted institutions and organizations interested in genealogy or family history or maintain Canadian genealogical resources or resources of interest to Canadians.
  • Information resources were created by a Government of Canada department or agency, a Canadian provincial or local government, a society, an association, a consortium, a foundation or other duly constituted, not-for-profit Canadian organization or a network of Canadian organizations composed of genealogists or people interested in family history that has an interest in or holds Canadian genealogical resources, and are accessible online.
  • Information resources refer to a nominative result, i.e., pertain to a person or to a document about a person. Resources referring only to a place name are therefore excluded.
  • The resources comply with copyright or content distribution rights pursuant to the Copyright Act [].
  • The content complies with the Privacy Act [].

Search Screens

The directory may be searched four ways.

Basic Search

  • Search using one or several keywords.
  • Once you have entered the search terms, click on "Submit query." You will then obtain a results summary list.

Advanced Search

  • The directory distinguishes between entries referring to information resources and those referring to institutions. Advanced search allows you to specify one or the other. Advanced search also allows you to combine several words using operators (and/or).
  • Once you have entered your search terms, click on "Submit query." You will then obtain a results summary list.

IMPORTANT: You may limit searches by combining several terms, but remember that if your search is too specific, you may exclude possible sources of which you were unaware.

Browse the List

  • This allows you to access all entries in the directory listed alphabetically by title of each resource.

Browse by Subject

  • This allows you to access entries in the directory by subject. Subject headings are classified using a controlled vocabulary currently used by archivists, genealogists and libraries (vital records, church records, loyalists, etc.).

How to Interpret the Search Results

Results Summary List

The results of your search will be displayed as a results summary list, indicating the title of the resource and a few descriptive details to enable you to quickly assess the relevance of the search results.

Select those results that interest you from the list. Click on the title of the resource (underlined in blue) to display a detailed description.

Detailed Description

From the results summary list, you can display a detailed description of each result one at a time. The resource title appears at the top of the entry, followed by three blocks.

The first block contains a description of the resource, which includes:


Name of the organization being described, or name of the organization that created the information resource.


Description of the resource.


Refers to the subject headings.


Exact date or range of dates indicating the scope of the resource.


Geographical entity (municipality, township, county, province, country) referred to by the resource.

The second block, entitled Contact Info, indicates the various ways to contact the resource. These include the resource's electronic or physical addresses, telephone and fax numbers and email addresses.

The last block of the record provides supplemental information on the resource, such as conditions for consultation, restrictions, language, format, names of partners, and copyright holders.

How to Consult the Resource or Order a Copy

In order to consult the resource, just click on the links. Otherwise, the directory gives you all the information you need to organize an onsite visit to one of the selected institutions.

If you wish to receive a copy of documents described in these resources, you must contact the creator of the resource identified in the directory or contact the institution that holds the actual records.