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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finding an Ancestor Who Immigrated to Canada 1911

David asked:
Three questions for you. I am trying to trace two ancestors of my wife's who arrived in Quebec, Canada on the Scotian on August 6th, 1911 from Glasgow. Is access available to any later Census than 1911 which might give me some information on the pair? The couple in question are 1. William Bruce ROBERTSON, born about 1858 at Ardrossan, Scotland and 2. Miss. Agnes Orr ROBERTSON his relation - Housekeeper / Niece - born about 1889, probably in Scotland.

William died on 7th July 1921 in Hamilton, Ontario and Hamilton Cemetery have been very helpful in providing information on his Burial. Assuming that Agnes did not marry, are there any Death Records On-line to see if I can trace her Death in Ontario?

Lastly, after arriving in Canada in 1911 would they have had to apply for Naturalization Papers?

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Dear David. William's Death Certificate is online on and Agnes, his niece is the informant. So you know that in 1921 she was not married.

Death Records for Ontario are freely searchable at They start in 1869 and go to 1934 with a few military deaths up to 1947. has the same deaths but they include the images.

The last census which is available to the public is the 1911 one so you are out of luck there. There is a National Registration File of 1940 which can be searched. You must request a search conducted by Stats Canada. See Naturalization Records in Canada for help with this. Here is a copy of the questions asked and answered on the National Registration File

As for naturalization, the Canadian Citizenship Act began on 1 January 1947. From 1763 to that date, people born in the provinces and colonies of British North America were all British subjects. Taking the oath of allegiance meant becoming a British subject. Thus immigrants from Great Britain and the Commonwealth (England, Ireland, Wales or Scotland) did not have to be naturalized. Also naturalization is an option, not a mandate and there is no guarantee that a foreign born ancestor naturalized

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