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Transcription of YouTube clip with Ben Mahar

Well, my grandfather was in the military for 35 years and always used to take me as a child to basically forts and military sites like that, kind of engrained a bit of family history into me there and then after he passed away we were going through his documents and found a lot of his old family trees and Masonic documents and stuff like that, it really ignited a passion in me to find out where I was from.

So at the Scotiabank Family History Center we have access to immigration records from 1865 to 1935, for all ports of entry, because we are now a federal museum and our mandate covers the whole country. Using those records in addition to things like census records, military records, birth, marriage and death and that kind of thing we are usually able to trace most people’s genealogy back and really tie their personal stories in with larger themes within Canadian immigration.

The earliest ones we have are from 1865-1866 for the ports of Quebec and Montreal.

We’ve found that a lot of the records were microfilmed in the 40s and 50s and then they were destroyed at that point, I mean there was a storage space and also maybe deterioration of the paper and that kind of stuff exposed to salt air and that kind of thing. Computers have made a big impact, for sure, I mean the creation of databases and the ability to share information has really opened up a lot of new avenues for genealogical research.