Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

Genealogy and Family History

How to Begin

Organizing Information

Making Copies, Using Tools

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Undoubtedly, you will make copies of what you find, when you can. You will collect photocopies, printouts, digital scans, Internet pages and images.


Organizing paper copies is discussed in Manual Methods; organizing digital information is discussed in Computer Methods.

You will do well to follow these guidelines when copying materials:

  • Record complete source information for the copy. If it is from a book, copy the pages that have the title and publishing information, and make sure you include the page number(s).
  • Record information about the repository (library, archives, etc.) in which you found the item.
  • When copying a page or file from the Internet, record the original filename (especially if you rename the file for your own purpose) and the complete Internet address.
  • Understand the copying permissions granted for each item you copy. It is NOT the case that everything on the Internet is free to use. Copyright and intellectual property rights apply on the Internet, just as they do for print and other materials.

Pedigree Charts

Pedigree Chart


Use a blank pedigree chart to record your family history details. These charts let you record family information as you proceed with your research.

Record your own information as person number one, your father as number two, your mother as three, your father's father as four, etc. Enter as many details as you know, such as full name, date and place of birth, marriage and death, even if that information is only approximate.

The pedigree chart shows your basic ancestry. Take copies of these charts with you as you visit Library and Archives Canada or other genealogical research centres. Keep the originals at home to prevent accidental loss. The copies will help you remember what you already have found, and will let consultants of these organizations see what you know at a glance. They may provide you with sources to help you locate the missing details to fill in the gaps. Make sure to make copies of your most up-to-date charts for future research trips.

Download a blank pedigree chart [PDF 192 KB] in Adobe Acrobat format and print copies of it. If your browser will not read the file, download the latest free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Family Charts

Family Chart


The family chart lets you record data about a specific single family. You can document the names of parents and children and, for each, their birth, marriage and death dates and places. As with pedigree charts, record what you know in the family group sheet and take copies with you (leave originals at home) when you visit libraries and archives. Make copies of your most recent family group sheets for future research trips.

Download a blank family chart [PDF 278 KB] in Adobe Acrobat format and print copies of it. Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Units of Measurement and Abbreviations

In Canada, mostly in the province of Quebec, French measurement units were used for lands. The following conversion table provides modern measurements for the older measurements.

In researching your family history, you will come across all sorts of abbreviations used in various records. Some of these are used today, but some are not. These tables explain the abbreviations you will find in both English and French records in Canada.

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4