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Genealogy and Family History

About Genealogy Services


Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Genealogy Strategy Summary Document

The search for family history is growing in popularity and personal appeal as more and more Canadians seek to connect with their past. Genealogy is a primary learning tool for creating an understanding of who we are; it celebrates the social contract between the individual and society through family history and heritage.

The LAC collection of Canadian documentary heritage provides genealogists with resources - the photographs, maps, letters, diaries, maps, music, portraits and other documents - to acquire and understand a family's history in the context of Canada's development. Creating a focus around genealogy gives LAC a unique opportunity to reach audiences interested in genealogy and, at the same time, encourage them to go beyond a name on a family tree.

To be successful, LAC needs to lead users to relevant holdings and connect its holdings to the genealogist's inquiry, regardless of channel, in a user-friendly and easily accessible manner. It also needs to collaborate at a deeper level with other similarly-mandated institutions to broaden the genealogist's access to the wealth of knowledge available not only at LAC but also elsewhere.

Our Approach

The Strategy supports developing genealogy in Canada and making the LAC collection known by applying a genealogy perspective throughout LAC. In particular, it will:

  • Link the search for family roots to Canada's history and heritage: We will create immediate and intuitive opportunities for LAC genealogy visitors to enter a richer, deeper search of not only who they are, but where they came from by showing them what we know about their heritage.
  • Explain and celebrate Canada through the diversity of its families: We will celebrate the social diversity of Canada's families, at the same time demonstrating the common values and principles that create the Canadian way of life.
  • Demonstrate the broad value of genealogy: The demand for federal genealogical records, services, and programs will increase exponentially with the implementation of a focused approach to genealogy. LAC will show decision - makers, educators, and community leaders that the search for a sense of belonging and a sense of place matters to Canadians.
  • Create the conditions for a vibrant Canadian genealogy sector: LAC will seek effective partnerships and will support other genealogy service providers in helping Canadians find records that link them with their ancestors. Together with its partners, LAC will see that Canada becomes known for its genealogy sector.

We will use the following strategies to meet our objectives:

1. Client-centred services

We will provide more genealogy tools and improve and expand our genealogy services, on-line and through other channels, to allow and encourage exploration of the collection.

2. Implement a program to make known and leverage LAC collection exploration by family history visitors

We will capitalize on the large amount of genealogy traffic which LAC enjoys by closely and visibly surrounding LAC's genealogical records with other records from the collection that will breathe life into the search for a name. By segmenting the collection and "attaching" it to genealogical records, we will deliberately try to tempt genealogy visitors to enter into a deeper search of their individual family history.

3. A new partnership approach

Working in collaboration with partners is one of LAC's main strategic orientations for 2006-2011, and a main thrust of its Genealogy Strategy. LAC will create or expand partnerships with institutions and family history researchers, as well as negotiate project-specific partnerships with commercial genealogy firms. Such collaboration will help LAC expand access to its own collections and link LAC clients to other collections of interest. Partnerships with service users can also play a role in guiding the overall implementation of the genealogy strategy. LAC will develop a new capacity for its partnerships and initiate pilot projects to generate creativity and innovation.

4. Implement a sustained marketing and communications plan

We will develop a strong and sustainable marketing and communications plan to support the strategic approach of using genealogy as a tool in making Canada's documentary heritage known and accessible to Canadians and others.

5. Collection access and development through a genealogy lens

Genealogy's role as a gateway to exploration of the LAC collections has two implications. Firstly, pathways will be developed into the collections to aid family history researchers. Secondly, we will add genealogy to the lenses through which a possible acquisition is viewed.

6. Build on linkages with programs

LAC will use its enhanced suite of genealogy products and services as a gateway to its public programming. LAC will also look into creating new genealogy-related programs consistent with its Program Strategy.

7. A robust performance measurement model

Downloadable Freeware

A full performance measurement plan will be developed to support this strategy.

A Strategy for the LAC Genealogy Program [PDF 105 KB], [RTF 929 KB]